The longest held South African hostage in captivity was sold to Al-Qaeda in Mali in 2018 after his abduction. In a lengthy news release, NGO Gift of the Givers detailed the process that led to the unconditional liberation of the forty-seven-year-old paramedic who is reportedly in Algeria. The initial request for Gerco’s release “was 3 million USD, and over a period of time we negotiated the amount down to 500k USD,” the NGO writes. “The family could not afford the ransom, there was no benefactor, the company that Gerco had just commenced work for could not assist.” Negotiations stalled and eventually with Covid-19 went cold completely until January 2023. In Ramadan, the month of fasting for Muslims, of this year, Gift of the Givers “requested unconditional, ransom free release” of the paramedic.
SOURCE: AFRICA NEWS