Shereen van Deventer, the wife of a South African hostage of jihadists in Mali, appealed on Saturday from the town of Swellendam for the release of her husband, Gerco van Deventer, who has been detained for over five years.
Gerco van Deventer, 47, was kidnapped in Libya in 2017 on his way to a power plant construction site before he was transferred to Mali, knowing that 3 Turkish engineers were also kidnapped but were released 7 months later.
Gerco van Deventer’s wife said that he is the father of 3 children and that they need him.
She also said that her husband, who is a nurse, is the only South African citizen held hostage by a non-state organisation in the Sahel.
The release of journalist Olivier Dubois after two years in captivity has given her hope for her husband’s release, she stated.
According to the South African Department of Foreign Affairs, negotiations are still ongoing for the release of Gerco van Deventer.
Imtiaz Sooliman, head of a Muslim charity, Gift of the Givers, who is involved in mediating for the hostage’s release, said a negotiator will travel to Mali to appeal to the kidnappers.