Sjaak Rijke, the Dutchman who spent 3.5 years as a hostage of an Al-Qaeda linked group in Mali, is heading back to his career as a train driver.
Sjaak Rijke is finally back home in Woerden, RTV Utrecht reports based on reliable sources in Woerden.
"As everyone will understand, I am overjoyed to be free again after more than three years and I eagerly look forward to the reunion with my family, friends and colleagues." Sjaak Rijke says in a statement released via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, NOS reports.
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.
The French army has released footage showing Sjaak Rijke having a meal with some soldiers after being freed from an Al-Qaeda linked group in Mali yesterday. He is smiling and eating and seems to be doing well.
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.
Dutchman Sjaak Rijke, who has been a captive of terrorist group Al-Qaida since November 2011, has been freed by commandos and other special forces of the French army in Mali this morning, the French Ministry of Defense announced this morning.
The threat that Dutch nationals will be kidnapped and held hostage abroad is rising, and Dutch people abroad have been told to be extra vigilant for terrorist acts. The Dutch counter-terrorism co-ordinator NCTV's Dick Schoof advises that people in volatile countries in the Middle-East, Asia and Africa have to be extra careful, the NOS reports.