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World Mali: after the liberation of jihadists, cautious hope for the hostages Pétronin and Cissé

19:45  06 october  2020
19:45  06 october  2020 Source:   france24.com

Mali: more than 100 jihadists freed for a possible exchange

 Mali: more than 100 jihadists freed for a possible exchange Video: "Syrian jihadist fighters" present in Karabakh, indicates Macron (Le Figaro) Your browser does not support this video © - Capture d ' June 13, 2018 screen of French hostage Sophie Pétronin, kidnapped on December 24, 2016 in Gao, central Mali More than a hundred convicted or suspected jihadists were released in Mali over the weekend in the framework of negotiations for the release of a Malian persnnalité and a French woman supposed to be in the hands of the jihadists, we learned on Monday

image captionFrench charity worker Sophie Pétronin and ex- Malian opposition leader Soumaïla Cissé have been freed. The Malian presidency has not revealed how it was able to free the hostages . Malian and international armed forces have been struggling to contain a jihadist insurgency in the

“Sophie Pétronin is free. Held hostage for nearly four years in Mali , her release is a great relief,” Macron wrote on Twitter. The announcement on Thursday came after several days of uncertainty about the release of Pétronin and Cissé who were believed to have been held by al-Qaeda-affiliated

Capture d'écran du 13 juin 2018 de l'otage française Sophie Pétronin, enlevé le 24 décembre 2016 à Gao, dans le centre du Mali © - Screenshot of June 13, 2018 of the French hostage Sophie Pétronin, kidnapped on December 24, 2016 in Gao, in the center of Mali

A significant development seemed to be taking shape in Mali on Tuesday in the efforts to free the last French hostage in the world, Sophie Pétronin, and that of one of the highest Malian political figures, Soumaïla Cissé.

Thirty jihadists were released from prison on Monday and Tuesday, after more than a hundred over the weekend, in connection with the attempts to obtain the release of Sophie Pétronin and Soumaïla Cissé, who are said to be held by armed Islamists, have indicated sources close to the negotiations speaking on condition of anonymity given the sensitivity of the case.

Mali frees over 100 jihadists seeking hostage swap

  Mali frees over 100 jihadists seeking hostage swap Insurgency-hit Mali freed over 100 alleged or convicted jihadists over the weekend in a bid to secure the release of a top politician and French charity worker, an official in charge of the negotiations told AFP on Monday. The rare mass release of prisoners, confirmed by a member of the security services, comes as an eight-year Islamist insurgency, that has claimed thousands of lives, continues to threaten the fragile West African country. © STRINGER Swathes of the sprawling country remain outside government control Soumaila Cisse, a 70-year-old former opposition leader and three-time presidential candidate, was abducted on March 25 while campaigning in his

Supporters of malian political figure Soumaïla Cissé gathered to celebrate the announced return of their candidate, who has been held hostage for Petronin , has been kept in captivity since December 24th 2016, after she was abducted by armed men in the Northern city of Gao. In the last video where

A second batch of jihadists has been freed in Mali , sources said Tuesday, boosting speculation that a French charity worker and Malian politician held “It’s to do with the release of the hostage Soumaila Cisse and the Frenchwoman, Sophie Petronin ,” the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Le leader malien d'opposition Soumaïla Cissé lors d'une manifestation à Bamako le 15 septembre 2018 © MICHELE CATTANI The Malian opposition leader Soumaïla Cissé during a demonstration in Bamako on September 15, 2018

At the same time, Sophie Pétronin's son, Sébastien Chadaud, took a flight via Paris to Bamako, the Malian capital, where he arrived in the early afternoon. "He quietly left the airport. Currently, he is in town," said a Malian airport source.

Courtes biographies du président Bah Ndaw et vice-président Assimi Goïta qui forment le nouveau gouvernement de transition malien suite au coup d'état du 18 août 2020 © Jonathan WALTER Short biographies of President Bah Ndaw and Vice-President Assimi Goïta who form the new Malian transitional government following the coup of August 18, 2020

"We must remain very careful", had estimated earlier in the day Lionel Granouillac, the nephew of Sophie Pétronin, who has also worked hard in recent years for the release of the hostage.

"According to contacts on the spot", Ms. Pétronin "could be on the way" for a return to France, he said.

Mali frees more jihadists, boosting hostage release scenario

  Mali frees more jihadists, boosting hostage release scenario A second batch of jihadists has been freed in Mali, sources said Tuesday, boosting speculation that a French charity worker and Malian politician held by the insurgents may be freed in a swap. About 30 "jihadist prisoners were released" late Monday and early Tuesday "and were flown north," a Mali security source said. "It's to do with the release of the hostage Soumaila Cisse and the Frenchwoman, Sophie Petronin," the source said, speaking onA second batch of jihadists has been freed in Mali, sources said Tuesday, boosting speculation that a French charity worker and Malian politician held by the insurgents may be freed in a swap.

Insurgency-hit Mali freed over 100 alleged or convicted jihadists over the weekend in a bid to secure the release of a top politician and French charity worker, an Malian authorities suspect an Al-Qaeda-linked group in central Mali led by militant cleric Amadou Koufa is responsible for the kidnappings.

A second batch of jihadists has been freed in Mali , sources said Tuesday, boosting speculation that a French charity worker and Malian politician held "It's to do with the release of the hostage Soumaila Cisse and the Frenchwoman, Sophie Petronin ," the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The French and Malian authorities observe total silence on the movements that are said to be underway.

Sophie Pétronin, 75 years old today, and Soumaïla Cissé, 70 years old, former minister, presidential candidate and leader of the opposition, are supposed to be in the hands of armed Islamist groups linked to Al-Qaeda.

- Children's Aid -

Their eventual release would end a ordeal of nearly four years for one and more than six months for the other. She would complete an operation whose bottom remains obscure.

Sophie Pétronin, originally from Bordeaux (south-west of France) was kidnapped on December 24, 2016 by armed men in Gao (north of Mali), where she had lived and headed for years an aid organization. childhood.

She appeared in videos released in 2017 and 2018 by the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM), an alliance of jihadist groups affiliated with Al-Qaeda. The last where we see her other than in a photo, published in mid-June 2018, shows her very tired, her face emaciated, calling on French President Emmanuel Macron.

French, Italian captives freed with top politician in Mali

  French, Italian captives freed with top politician in Mali Mali announced Thursday the release of an elderly French aid worker, two Italian captives and a top Malian politician, all believed to have been held by jihadists. French President Emmanuel Macron immediately voiced "immense relief" at the release of the worker, the last French hostage in the world, and expressed France's continued support for Mali in its fight against an Islamist insurgency. Mali's presidency said in a tweet on Thursday that Frenchwoman Sophie Petronin, 75, and Soumaila Cisse, 70, were on their way to the capital Bamako.

A second batch of jihadists has been freed in Mali , sources said Tuesday, boosting speculation that a French charity worker and Malian politician held "It's to do with the release of the hostage Soumaila Cisse and the Frenchwoman, Sophie Petronin ," the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

A second batch of jihadists has been freed in Mali , sources said Tuesday, boosting speculation that a French charity worker and Malian politician held "It's to do with the release of the hostage Soumaila Cisse and the Frenchwoman, Sophie Petronin ," the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

In a later document, a photo shows her bedridden.

The images of the hostage never ceased to alarm the family, who claimed to be ill and feared for her life. Relatives mobilized without stopping for her release, repeatedly urging President Emmanuel Macron and the French government not to forget Ms. Pétronin and to agree to negotiate with the kidnappers.

Mr. Macron has assured several times that the French services were working for his release "relentlessly", but with discretion.

Soumaïla Cissé, for his part, second three times in the presidential election, was kidnapped on March 25 while he was on a legislative campaign in the region of Timbuktu (north-west).

In the absence of formal proof, suspicion hangs over the jihadist group of Amadou Koufa, active in central Mali and affiliated with Al-Qaeda.

- Sanctions lifted -

Soumaïla Cissé is the most prominent national figure kidnapped in Mali since the independence and jihadist rebellions of 2012 plunged the country into a deep security crisis.

The spiral of violence has caused, along with inter-communal tensions, thousands of civilian and military deaths, despite the deployment of French and international forces, and has spread to neighboring Burkino Faso and Niger.

The fate of Mr. Cissé was one of the rallying cries of the protest of several months against the former president Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta.

The latter ended up being overthrown by a putsch on August 18. The colonels who deposed him control the political transition that they themselves organized and which should bring civilians back to power within 18 months.

After the formation of a government on Monday, in which the military retains strategic positions, the West African states on Tuesday welcomed the "significant progress towards constitutional normalization" and decided to lift the sanctions they had imposed on Mali after the Coup d'Etat.

At least eight other Western hostages are said to remain in detention in the Sahel.

One of the 2018 videos in which Ms. Pétronin appears also shows a Colombian Franciscan nun, Sister Gloria Cecilia Narvaez, kidnapped in 2017, who helps the Frenchwoman to drink or gently wipes her face.

bur-bpe-lal / siu / thm

Hostages in Mali: a success of the jihadists with incalculable fallout .
© STRINGER The former hostage Sophie Pétronin, with her son Sébastien Chadaud-Pétronin in Bamako, October 8, 2020 First of all, a certainty: it is the jihadist alliance in the Sahel linked to Al-Qaeda, which emerges victorious from the exchange in Mali of 200 detainees against four hostages.

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