Swiss hostages in Mali: missionary bodies identified

2012 B & # xe9; atrice St & # xf6; ckli

Béatrice Stöckli (seen here in 2012) was held by an al-Qaeda affiliate

According to the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the body of a Swiss woman who had been held hostage in Mali for more than four years was found and identified.

Béatrice Stöckli was a Christian missionary in Timbuktu when he was kidnapped by Jihadists in 2016.

A fellow hostage released last year said Stöckli was killed by a prisoner of war linked to al-Qaeda.

The bodies recently handed over to Mali authorities have been confirmed to use DNA.

Ms. Stöckli was once temporarily detained by Islamic extremists in 2012.

Mali and the International Army have struggled to contain the jihadist rebellion in the northern part of the country, which first emerged in 2012.

Retaining hostages for ransom, along with smuggling of weapons and drugs, is the key to the survival of many groups in the vast desert area.

Ms. Stöckli was held by Jama’at Nasrat al Islamic Warmusurimin (JNIM), an al-Qaeda Sahel affiliate.

The news of her death came later October Liberation of Four People Held by Jihadists in Mali, Including 75-year-old French charity worker Sophie Pétronin.

She told French officials that Ms. Stöckli was killed about a month before the release of the kidnapper.

A few days ago, the body of a presumed Swiss hostage was handed over to Mali officials, according to the Swiss Foreign Minister.

DNA samples were sent to Switzerland for further investigation.

“Sadly, there is conclusive evidence that the hostaged woman is dead.” Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis..

“However, I am relieved to be able to return the body of the woman to my family, and I would like to express my deepest condolences and thank you for your cooperation in identifying the body of the Mali authorities.”

Originally from the city of Basel, Switzerland, Ms. Stöckli worked for many years, mostly Muslims in northern Mali.

She was first taken hostage in 2012, shortly after Timbuktu fell into separatist and Islamic rebels, and was released in just over a week with the help of an adjoining Burkina Faso intermediary. ..

The release of the four hostages in October was part of the exchange of more than 100 Jihadist prisoners.

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