Having Stephen home would be best Christmas gift – SA hostage’s dad

2015-12-02 12:29
Stephen McGown (Gift of the Givers, YouTube)

Stephen McGown (Gift of the Givers, YouTube)

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WATCH: SA hostage in Mali sends love to family and negotiators in video

2015-12-02 09:00

The Gift of the Givers has described a new video of two hostages being held in Mali, including South African Stephen McGown, as "absolutely credible and realistic".WATCH

Johannesburg - If South African hostage Stephen McGown returns home by Christmas, it will be a great gift to his father, who celebrates his birthday on December 25.

Malcolm McGown, the father of the 40-year-old Stephen, who has been held hostage by Al-Qaeda in Mali for four years, said he was extremely happy when he heard his son’s voice on a new video that was released on Tuesday.

McGown said it had been a tough time for his family, but he felt this was the most positive video released so far.

READ MORE: I hope to be home soon - SA hostage in Mali

“Things are moving along and hopefully we’ll have him home before Christmas,” Malcolm told News24.

“The first thing I would do is welcome him home with a massive hug. It will be the best gift ever. His family misses him and his wife has also endured a rough time.”

Malcolm said although he was positive, he would only feel calm once his son is back home.

“In the end, the video is still only proof of life and not much more. But it is good to see that he is aware of negotiations which should also give him some hope.”

On Tuesday two new videos were uploaded to YouTube featuring McGown and Swedish national Johan Gustafsson, who were captured in November 2011 in Timbuktu and have since been held in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

READ MORE: Gift of the Giver's makes contact with SA man's captors

The founder of Gift of Givers, Imtiaz Sooliman, said he is happy that there seems to be progress.

“The road is still long, but we will make progress," Sooliman said, giving no indication as to when they could possibly be released.

In each of the videos, with a duration of about 50 seconds, McGown and Gustafsson say that they are aware and happy that negotiations with their governments for their release are under way and seem to be close to being completed.

Both men look healthy.

Read more on:    al-qaeda  |  gift of the givers  |  imtiaz sooliman  |  mali

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