Pic of SA man held in Mali brings hope
Johannesburg - A photograph of a South African man kidnapped in Mali was released to that country's government by his kidnappers, indicating that he is alive, according to a report on Monday.
The photograph was given to authorities on Friday by the North African branch of al-Qaeda, which has taken responsibility for the kidnapping, The Star newspaper reported.
This has also brought on renewed hope to the 36-year-old man's family that he could be home soon.
"It has been tough going these past weeks, but we hope [our son] is home for Christmas," his father was quoted as saying.
No ransom demands
The man and his two friends - a Dutch national and a Swedish national - were reported missing on November 25 after a group of gunmen burst into a restaurant in Tumbuktu and instructed them to get into a truck.
A German national who refused was allegedly executed.
The department of international relations and co-operation has repeatedly stated that the man's identity cannot be revealed as it may jeopardise future dealings with the kidnappers.
There have not been any ransom demands and the man's father believes the kidnapping was a political statement, the newspaper said.
The al-Qaeda branch reportedly admitted in a statement that the kidnapping was carried out in revenge for recent attacks on the group in Mali.
The group also admitted to having kidnapped two French tourists in eastern Mali on November 24, alleging they were spies.