Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Hostages released in Mali prisoner swap

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Four people abducted and detained in Mali, including a 75-year-old French charity worker Sophie Pétronin have been released by their hostage-takers.

Ms Pétronin, who was seized in December 2016, was the last French citizen to be held hostage anywhere in the world.

The Malian Government said ex-opposition leader Soumaïla Cissé and two Italian nationals were also freed.

Their release was part of a prisoner swap arrangement for more than 100 jihadists.

Islamist militants, believed to be affiliated to al-Qaeda, were reportedly behind the abductions.

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 north of the country that first emerged in 2012.

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