Mother of SA hostage in Mali dies without reunion

2017-05-27 22:51
Stephen McGown (Gift of the Givers, YouTube)

Stephen McGown (Gift of the Givers, YouTube)

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WATCH: It's been 5 years since this South African was captured by al-Qaeda

2016-11-24 10:33

November 25 will mark the five year anniversary since South African, Stephen McGown and Swede, Johan Gustafsson were kidnapped by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in Timbuktu, Mali.WATCH

Cape Town - The mother of a South African man who has been held in hostage in Mali for five-and-a-half years died on Saturday evening.

Beverly McGown, mother of Stephen McGown, had been ill for many years but deteriorated the last few months, said Gift of the Givers chair Imtiaz Sooliman.

"Her anxiety over Stephen's fate and her longing to see her son finally took its toll."

McGown and Swedish national Johan Gustafsson have been held by al-Qaeda in Mali since their abduction in November 2011.

"We had seen the sadness in the mother's eye and watched how she patiently waited in dignified pain for the return of her son. We failed her; my heart bleeds for her," said Sooliman.

The Gift of the Givers appointed a hostage negotiator and sent him to Mali in July 2015.

Sooliman said they tried everything humanely possible to get McGown home but had not yet succeeded.

"We hope and pray that by some miracle we will get him out. We haven't given up hope, are still trying against all odds and will continue relentlessly."

The organisation extended its condolences to the family.

It said Yolandie Korkie sent condolences and a message of support.

Korkie and her husband Pierre were kidnapped by al-Qaeda militants in Taiz, Yemen, in May 2013.

She was released eight months later and returned to SA as the Gift of the Givers continued to negotiate for her husband's release.

However, Pierre and US photographer Luke Somers were killed during an attempt by the US Special Forces to free them from their al-Qaeda captors on December 6, 2014.

Read more on:    gift of the givers  |  stephen mcgown  |  cape town  |  kidnapping

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