Freed al Qaeda hostage claims getting to be Muslim assisted him in ordeal


Soon after approximately 6 years as a hostage of the Al Qaeda group in Mali, South African vacationer Stephen McGowan claimed he would keep the beard that brushes his upper body when he bows to talk into the microphone.

Launched South African Stephen McGowan, who was kidnapped by al Qaeda in Mali in 2011, addresses a media convention with his wife Catherine McGowan in Johannesburg, South Africa, August 10, 2017. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

JOHANNESBURG: Soon after approximately 6 years as a hostage of the Al Qaeda group in Mali, South African vacationer Stephen McGowan claimed he would keep the beard that brushes his upper body when he bows to talk into the microphone.

McGowan was produced very last thirty day period right after getting kidnapped, along with 4 other foreigners, though touring Mali on motorbikes. A person, a German, was killed in the kidnapping. A Dutch hostage was freed in 2015 in a raid by French specific forces and a Swede was produced in June this year.

“I’ll likely keep the beard. I see all of my buddies are developing them. They’ve turn into funky,” McGowan instructed a convention on Thursday.

Just lately discharged from healthcare facility right after a week in observation and treatment method for numerous slight ailments, McGowan, flanked by his widower father and his wife, shyly recalled particulars of ordeal.

“I you should not believe they realized my nationality. It would have been very first prize for them if I was British,” McGowan claimed. “They kidnapped me just for the reason that I was non-Muslim.”

He ultimately converted to from Catholicism to Islam, and claimed that this designed his keep a lot easier.

South Africa’s governing administration claimed no ransom was compensated to safe his release. Present of the Givers, the organisation that acted as intermediaries among Al Qaeda and governing administration, claimed on Thursday McGowan experienced been produced on compassionate grounds.

McGowan claimed he was driven throughout remote stretches of the Sahara in the again of utility truck with other hostages, and housed in a grass hut, handcuffed and blindfolded for extensive periods.

He was instructed on a the generate home his mom experienced handed absent.

(Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana Modifying by Raissa Kasolowsky)



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