Last week, the al-Qaeda affiliated militant group Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM) released a proof of life video of kidnapped South African paramedic Gerco Van Deventer, who is now believed to be in Mali.
Deventer started his medical career in the military, where he served as a medic for the South African Special Forces. According to Deventer, he had been involved in rescue operations for the 1998 bombing at the US embassy in Nairobi and 2000 Mozambique floods. After leaving the military, Deventer took up contracting work, most of which was in Afghanistan as a medical professional or risk manager. In 2017, Deventeraccpted a contract to be a paramedic at a construction site near Oubari, Libya. It was here where he was kidnapped by unknown Libyan militants.
Exclusive Follow-Up: A leaked video featuring South African hostage Gerco Van Deventer has recently surfaced and is believed to be intended for al-Qaeda’s propaganda channels in Mali at a JNIM location (al-Qaeda terrorists in Mali). The two-day-old clip shows Mr. Deventer… https://t.co/MaeDsl4V0H pic.twitter.com/CC6hJagXRP
— Mzahem Alsaloum (@Mzahem_Alsaloum) March 18, 2023
In the recently released video, Deventer describes how he was held in Libya for eight months before he was “sold” to JNIM and taken into northern Mali. He also said that while in captivity, he was shot in the arm, which has left him with limited mobility due to “misaligned bones.” Deventer pleaded for any help to secure his release, adding that he has not spoken with or heard of anything about his wife and three children.
Back in January, analyst Mzahem Alsaloum received a proof of life photo of Deventer that was passed along to his wife, but this most recent video has been the first footage of Deventer since 2019. Captors have previously demanded $1.5 million for his release.