Stephen McGowan's family have been asked to keep a low profile after French forces rescued one of his fellow al-Qaeda hostages.
Stephen McGowan's whereabouts are unknown despite the release of the Dutch national who was kidnapped alongside him in Timbuktu in 2011.
South Africa has many attributes that make it a worthy representative of Africa on the world stage, but is set to lose its first place.
Civil society activists are calling on the African Union to make public the findings of an inquiry into human rights abuses in South Sudan.
Many of the nations fighting the terror group have themselves been accused of human rights abuses and even of war crimes.
But fears of civilian casualties could see the army renege on a commitment to disarm combatants.
Elections and Abuja's need to lead are hindering AU efforts to take on the militants.
The reaction in Africa to last week's massacre of civilians in the northeast of Nigeria has been described as long overdue.
There are 15 key pointers to watch this year that will indicate the direction in which Africa is heading.
African leaders reprimand the West, particularly France, for its intervention in Libya, which they say has left Africa rife with terrorism.