Johan Gustafsson, the 42-year-old Swedish man kidnapped by al-Qaida linked group in Mali since 2011, has been released, the Swedish Foreign Ministry said on Monday.
“It is with great pleasure that I can announce that Johan Gustafsson has been released and can return to Sweden,” Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said in a statement on the government website.
“Johan’s situation has touched many of us, and extensive efforts have been made to secure his release,” she said.
“The government would like to highlight the excellent cooperation that has marked the work of the Foreign Ministry, the National Police’s operational department and other Swedish and foreign authorities — work that finally allows that Johan can come home,” Wallstrom said in the statement.
According to Swedish newspaper Expressen, Gustafsson is right now sitting on a plane bound for Sweden.
It was during a motorcycle vacation through Africa when Gustafsson was kidnapped in the city of Timbuktu by the terrorist group al-Qaida’s North African branch of AQIM. Since then, he has been a prisoner of the group.