The 66-year-old priest, who was captured on November 20, 2022, had been living in Mali for more than thirty years

Fr. Hans Joachim Lohre, a German missionary belonging to the order of the White Fathers, missionaries to Africa, who was kidnapped in Mali on Sunday, November 20, 2022, has been released. The priest who is a project partner of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), has collaborated in various pastoral initiatives and interreligious dialogue.

One year after his kidnapping, the missionary was released on November 26. The circumstances of his release are unclear. A representative of the Malian government and two representatives of the archdiocese of Bamako, who preferred to remain anonymous, announced the Priest’s release last Sunday.

Known locally by the nickname “Ha-Jo”, Father Hans-Joachim Lohre, 66, had been living in Mali for more than 30 years , where, among other things, he taught at the Islamic-Christian Training Institute (Ific) and He was responsible for the Hamdallaye Faith and Encounter Center.

On the day of the kidnapping, the missionary planned to celebrate mass in the Kalaban Coura community. His car was parked in front of his house and investigators later found the priest’s broken cross chain next to his vehicle. The kidnapping was not claimed, but diplomatic and security sources attributed it to JNIM, the Support Group for Islam and Muslims, linked to Al Qaeda.

Father Lohre is the second German released in the Sahel in less than a year , following the release of aid worker Jörg Lange in December 2022, who had been kidnapped on April 11, 2018 in western Niger, on the border with Mali. Several foreign hostages, including a South African and an Italian couple with his son, remain held in the Sahel.