BAMAKO, Mali — Islamic extremists have freed prominent Malian politician Soumaila Cisse after holding him hostage for more than six months along with a French aid worker who was kidnapped back in 2016, an official said Tuesday.

The 70-year-old who was abducted back in late March while campaigning ahead of legislative elections has boarded a plane in northern Mali along with Sophie Petronin.

The flight taking off from Kidal region was headed to Gao and then on the capital of Bamako, said the official who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to journalists.