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BAMAKO: A German Catholic priest widely thought to have been abducted after going missing in Mali in late 2022 has been freed and is on his way back home, officials said on Sunday.

"The priest Hans-Joachim Lohre, abducted November 20, 2022, was freed this Sunday. He's in a plane heading to his country," an official with the archdiocese told AFP on condition of anonymity. A government official confirmed the information.

No other details were provided.

Mali bus blast kills at least 11 people: hospital source

Lohre had been due to celebrate Mass in the Malian capital when he went missing. His car was left parked outside his home and calls to his phone went to voicemail.

He was widely thought to have been kidnapped, although no one ever claimed responsibility.

Lohre had lived in Mali for around 30 years and taught inter-religious dialogue at the Islamo-Christian Institute, which receives students from around the world.

Mali has been wracked by violence for years and kidnappings of foreigners and Malians have regularly taken place for criminal or ideological reasons, though they are more common outside the capital.

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