Sjaak Rijke, Dutchman held hostage by Al-Qaida in Mali, seen reading a prepared statement in a November 2014 video after three years in captivity - Credit: Sjaak Rijke, Dutchman held hostage by Al-Qaida in Mali, seen reading a prepared statement in a November 2014 video after three years in captivity
Tuesday, 7 April 2015 - 10:47
Two hostage-takers killed during Mali rescue
French forces killed two militants and captured two others in the raid that freed Dutchman Sjaak Rijke from the Al-Qaeda linked group in Mali yesterday. This is according to Lieutenant Colonel Michel Sabatier, a spokesperson for the French Operation Barkhane, ABC news reports. According to French president Francois Hollande, the special forces operation was not designed specifically to free Rijke, as they did not know his whereabouts. Finding him was a happy accident. "It was a surprise for us, for our forces, to be able to free this hostage as we did not have any information on the presence of this hostage", Hollande said. Rijke was kidnapped from Timbuktu in November 2011, while he was on vacation with his wife. He appeared in a video last year saying that he was suffering from back problems and was not doing well emotionally. Yesterday Minister Bert Koenders of Foreign Affairs stated that Rijke was doing well under the circumstances and is receiving medical treatment.