A Colombian nun kidnapped by al-Qaida jihadists in 2017 near Mali’s border with Burkina Faso was freed Saturday, the Malian presidential office said.
Gloria Cecilia Narvaez was kidnapped by the Islamist Macina Liberation Front in February 2017 while working as a missionary.
What do we know of her release?
Mali interim President Assimi Goita announced the liberation on Twitter where he thanked the security forces for their participation in the operation.
“The presidency of Mali salutes the courage and bravery of the nun. This liberation is the crowning achievement of four years and eight months of combined efforts by several intelligence sets,” Goita said.
Photos on his Twitter post show Narvaez dressed in a yellow robe and headscarf smiling as she meets the president.
“I thank the Malian authorities, the president, for all the efforts made so that I am free,” Narvaez said on the country’s national television.
She reported staying healthy while in captivity for nearly five years.
The Malian authorities did not say whether they paid a ransom for the nun’s release.
What was the reaction in Colombia?
Colombian Foreign Minister and Vice President Marta Lucia Ramirez tweeted her joy at the release of Narvaez.
“We are enormously happy and thankful for this consequence,” Ramirez said.
She acknowledged the role of the French government, personally mentioning chief Minister Jean Castex and Defense Minister Florence Parly.
French troops helped to obtain Mali from jihadist forces in 2013 after Islamists took some cities in the north of the country.
French forces have helped combat never-ending groups of insurgents in Mali
The al-Qaida-connected group has found kidnapping to be a lucrative way to keep up their fight against national armies, UN peacekeepers and French forces in West Africa’s Sahel vicinity. They regularly kill Malian troops in roadside bombings.
The jihadists are nevertheless holding a US clergyman and a French journalist in the western African vicinity.
jc/sri (AP, AFP)
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