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German man freed more than four years after his kidnapping in Niger

Gunmen on motorcycles abducted Jorg Lange, a 63-year-old aid worker and engineer, from the town of Inates in 2018.

A German aid worker has been freed more than four and a half years after being kidnapped in Niger, according to the German humanitarian organization Help.

In a statement on Saturday, the organization did not provide details of how or where Jorg Lange, a 63-year-old engineer, was released.

Gunmen on motorcycles kidnapped Lange in April 2018 near the Niger city of Inates, in border areas where rebel groups, some with ties to al Qaeda and ISIL (ISIS), have carried out frequent attacks and kidnappings. for many years.

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“We are very relieved and grateful that our colleague Jorg Lange is able to return to his family after more than four and a half years,” said Bianca Kaltschmitt, the organization’s CEO.

Kaltschmit thanked the German Foreign Ministry and other German authorities, as well as “authorities and friends in Mali, Niger and neighboring countries.”

An engineer by training, Lange had worked in the humanitarian sector for more than 30 years before he was kidnapped.

At least 25 foreigners and an untold number of locals have been kidnapped in the Sahel region since 2015, according to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project.

Five foreigners remain captive according to the organization, including the Reverend Hans-Joachim Lohre, a German priest kidnapped in Mali’s capital Bamako in November.

Others still in custody are the French journalist Olivier Dubois, who was kidnapped last April in northern Mali, the US citizen Jeffery Woodke, the Australian doctor Ken Elliott and the Romanian citizen Iulian Ghergut, kidnapped in a mine in Burkina Faso and detained. since 2015.

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