Brussels. August 11. INTERFAX – Two men who spent six years in captivity, “al-Qaeda”, said that to survive they helped forced conversion to Islam, because to escape from the terrorists was impossible, said Friday the associated press.
Men – Swede Johan Gustafsson and South Africa citizen Steven McGowan – told on his first after his release in June and July press conference in Stockholm that the militants kidnapped them in the Northern part of Mali.
As stated by Th.Gustafsson, armed men kidnapped him from a hotel and was put in the car. Among the kidnapped, “al-Qaeda” was also a subject of the Netherlands and a German citizen. According to the man, at the time of his abduction, the German was already dead, and the Dutchman Saaka Rajka in 2015 was saved by the French military.
Answering the question, how did they last so long in the desert, living in captivity of the militants, Th.Gustafsson and S. McGowan said that “conversion to Islam saved their lives”. Th.Gustafsson noted that the “escape out of the question”. S. McGowan added that he’s treated well all these years, but he “always felt like a prisoner.”
According to the representative of the organization Gift of the Givers Foundation, which acts as an intermediary in negotiating the release of S. McGowan, initially, the terrorists demanded a ransom of 10 million euros for one prisoner.