Dutch hostage Sjaak Rijke reunited with wife, leaving Mali
Sjaak Rijke, held hostage by an Al-Qaida faction for three and a half years, was reunited with his wife on Wednesday at the Bamako airport in Mali. "They shouted for joy," Dutch ambassador Maarten Brouwer told RTL.
"Fantastic to see Sjaak so happy," Brouwer was quoted as saying by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The happy couple will take some time for themselves before returning to the Netherlands. They will be back at their home in Woerden, Utrecht after a few days, the ambassador said. Earlier, Rijke, a train engineer, and Brouwer met with Malian president Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta to discuss the liberation and Rijke's time in captivity. The Dutchman was taken hostage in November 2011 by terrorists in the West African nation. Gunmen ambushed his hotel in Timbuktu, imprisoning him and two others. French special forces freed Rijke during a raid on an Al-Qaida installation, which left two people dead. The Dutch government was unaware Rijke was being held at the location. Rijke is said to be doing well, considering the circumstances. Prime Minister Mark Rutte called French President Francois Hollande on Wednesday to thank France for rescuing Rijke. It is not known if the rescued man will visit France with his wife before heading back to the Netherlands, the Volkskrant reported. https://twitter.com/DutchMFA/status/585435959333904384 https://twitter.com/DutchMFA/status/585427684076969984