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Brit tourist Stephen McGowan held for six years by al-Qaeda cut-throats in Africa is released back to his astonished family


The banker, 42, was one of four foreigners seized in a restaurant in Timbuktu, Mali, in 2011

Banker Stephen McGowan, 42, was one of four foreigners seized in a restaurant in Timbuktu, Mali, in 2011.

Banker Stephen McGowan, 42, was one of four foreigners seized in a restaurant in Timbuktu, Mali, in 2011

Banker Stephen McGowan, 42, was one of four foreigners seized in a restaurant in Timbuktu, Mali, in 2011

South African hostage Stephen McGowan is shown in an unknown location

Stephen, who has British parents but has dual UK and South African citizenship, was feared dead

Stephen, who has British parents but has dual UK and South African citizenship, was feared dead.

But it emerged yesterday he was released last month. He appeared physically fit and unharmed and wore traditional African clothes and a beard.

Married Stephen, who was brought up in Putney, South West London, learned his mother Beverley had died in May following a long illness.

His dad Malcolm said: “It was a big surprise when he walked through the door. I gave him a big hug and he felt as sound and strong as before.”

Wife Catherine said: “The first thing he said to me  was, ‘Your hair has grown’. I said, ‘Actually, your hair is longer than mine now’.”

A fellow Dutch hostage was freed in 2015  by French special forces and a Swede  released in June. A German tourist  was killed during the kidnap.

Al-Qaeda wanted £3.8million  for Stephen. The Government denied paying a ransom.

Stephens wife Catherine McGowan, second left, with his father Malcom, right, his mother-in-law Sue Peisier, left, and South African Minister, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane

Stephen’s wife Catherine McGowan, second left, with his father Malcom, right, mother-in-law Sue Peisier, left, and South African Minister, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane

Mali security services confirm fatalities in luxury resort attack

Source: https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/4173618/stephen-mcgowan-released-al-qaeda-six-years/

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