Wednesday June 07, 2023

New calls to free S African hostage held in Mali

March 26, 2023

JOHANNESBURG: The family of a South African held hostage by jihadists in Mali for over five years launched a fresh appeal for his release Saturday, just days after a French journalist was freed.

Gerco van Deventer, 47, was kidnapped in Libya on November 3, 2017 on his way to a power plant construction site around 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) south of the capital Tripoli.

Three other Turkish engineers also seized at the same time as him were freed seven months later. Van Deventer remained in captivity and was moved to Mali.

“I´m launching a fresh appeal... we desperately need him home, he´s a father of three children,” his wife Shereen van Deventer, told AFP in an online interview.

“It´s a difficult situation for us as a family, we would really ask for ... their (captors) compassion to release him,” she said speaking from the small town of Swellendam, 220 kilometres east of Cape Town.