JOHANNESBURG (AP) — A memorial service has been held for the mother of a South African man who was kidnapped five and a half years ago in Mali by extremists from al-Qaida's North Africa branch.
Beverley McGown, who died after an illness, had hoped in vain for the release of son Stephen McGown. He was abducted in Timbuktu in November 2011.
Her husband, Malcolm McGown, said at the service Friday that he promised her shortly before she died that her son would eventually be released.
In 2015, extremists released video of Stephen McGown, who also has British citizenship, and a hostage from Sweden. McGown had been traveling in Mali.
Gift of the Givers, a South African charity, has sought to secure McGown's release through contacts with local leaders and others in West Africa.