It was not an easy process to negotiate with McGowan captors - negotiator

While listening to 702, a Malian living in South Africa heard about the hostage situation in Mali where a South African was being kept captive by al-Qaeda militants.

Gift of the Givers at the time was trying to reach out to anyone who can help them negotiate the release of Stephen McGowan who was kidnapped in 2011.

Mohamed Yehia, contacted Gift of the Givers and started the process of negotiating in 2014.

Although it was not an easy process, in 2015 he says he finally got hold of the right people to negotiate with.

Read: LISTEN: How a hostage negotiator risked it all to help get Stephen McGowan home

It was not easy to get the right people to negotiate with and to get them to trust you.

Mohamed Yehia, hostage negotiator

Yehia says the al-Qaeda has political and religious agenda.

At first they did not know Stephen McGowanwas South African. They thought he was from Britain, says Yehia, as McGowan was found with a British passport.

They do not target South Africans, but the US, France and Britain because they colonised them.

Mohamed Yehia, hostage negotiator

He was in a wrong place at a wrong time - an innocent tourist...

Mohamed Yehia, hostage negotiator

According to reports, an estimated $4.2 million was paid to secure the release of McGowan by the South African government, but the Department of International Relations dismissed these claims saying no ransom was paid for McGowan.

McGowan flew home to South Africa from Timbuktu at the weekend and is said to be in good health.

To hear the rest of the interview, listen below:

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