Africa

Colombian nun freed in Mali after 4 years in captivity

Gloria Narvaez’s release culmination of years of combined efforts by several intelligence services, says Malian presidency

James Tasamba   | 10.10.2021
Colombian nun freed in Mali after 4 years in captivity

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KIGALI, Rwanda 

A Colombian nun who was abducted more than four years ago by militants in Mali has been freed, the Malian presidency said Saturday.

Gloria Cecilia Narvaez was kidnapped in February 2017 by the Macina Liberation Front, an al-Qaeda-linked group, on the Mali-Burkina Faso border.

“The presidency of Mali salutes the courage and bravery of the nun. This liberation is a culmination of four years and eight months of combined efforts by several intelligence services,” according to a statement. “The President takes this opportunity to assure the Malian people and the international community that efforts are still underway to secure the release of all persons, Malians and foreigners held captive on Malian territory.”

It was not immediately clear whether Narvaez’s was freed following a ransom payment.

But interim President Assimi Goita, seen sitting with Narvaez in pictures posted to the president's Twitter account, congratulated Mali’s defense, security forces and the intelligence services.

Armed groups in West Africa’s Sahel region use hostages to raise money through ransom.

In April, a French journalist was abducted in northern Mali and in July gunmen kidnapped three Chinese nationals and two Mauritanians from a construction site in southwestern Mali.

Mali has been battling an insurgency linked to the al-Qaeda and Daesh/ISIS terror groups since 2012 when unrest erupted in the north of the West African country.

The violence, which has killed thousands of civilians and troops, has spread to neighboring Niger and Burkina Faso.

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