Kidnapped Colombian nun appears in second hostage video


A Colombian nun kidnapped nearly a year ago in Mali appears in an online video released at the end of Jan in which she asks for the intervention of Pope Francis. News of this new video, lasting 4 minutes and 44 seconds with a voiceover commentary in English, reported the Mauritanian agency Al-Akhbar and the American centre of surveillance of jihadist movements, SITE. Al-Akhbar is an agency known for regularly receiving and broadcasting press releases from jihadist groups in the Sahel.

Franciscan Sister Gloria Cecilia Narvaez Argoti was kidnapped on 7 February 2017 in Karangasso in southern Mali near the border with Burkina Faso, where she had been working as a missionary for six years. According to security sources in Mali and Burkina Faso, at the time of the abduction, the search for Sister Gloria extended from Mali to Burkina Faso, to which the abductors and their hostages had gone.

The Colombian nun addresses the Pope, asking him to intervene for her release, congratulating him on his recent tour of Latin America and stressing that her captivity continues at a time when Christians are celebrating Christmas, an indication that the video was recorded at the end of December. The video also shows former hostages of Sahelian jihadist groups released after negotiations.

“We have seen the video and we are happy to know she is alive and this urges us to continue our prayers and efforts for her release,” said Bishop Jean-Baptiste Tiama.

“It comforted us to see that Sister Gloria appears in good condition and the fact that she referred to the Pope’s trip to Chile and Peru makes us think that the video is recent. And this gives us much hope”, added the bishop.

In July 2017, Sister Gloria appeared in a first video released by her kidnappers, who belong to Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen (‘Support Group to Islam and Muslims’), the main jihadist alliance in the Sahel which is linked to Al-Qaeda. This video showed six Western hostages kidnapped in Mali or Burkina Faso.

The north of Mali fell under the control of jihadist groups linked to al-Qaida in March-April 2012. These groups were largely driven out of the country following the launch in 2013, of an international military intervention, led by France. However, several areas remain beyond the control of Malian and foreign forces, despite the signing of May-June 2015 of a peace agreement that was meant to isolate the jihadists for good. The joint anti-Jihadist force project initially launched in November 2015, received pledges of financial support from various countries including France and the United Araba Emirates.

ACN Malta