Sophie Petronin abductors in Mali unclear about intentions
Sebastian Petronin (38) discovered a video of his mother, in a headscarf and looking frail and tearful, the latest proof the 75-year-old Sophie Petronin is alive nearly two years after she was kidnapped by jihadists and held in the desert of Mali. The Islamist group releases a video showing the hostages Gloria Cecilia Narvaez and Sophie Petronin. The hostages address respectively Pope Francis and the French government asking to be rescued.
Fearing for her deteriorating health, Petronin hopes her abductors will allow him to visit her just once, even if there is scant chance he will be able to take her back. Now from Niamey, Niger he tries to obtain information to move as close as possible to his mother., reportedly kept in remote places in desert. In the video, Sophie Petronin tells that his captors are accepting a meeting with her son.
“We are really concerned”, – Petronin said. “She is a fighter but I feel like she has suffered blows to her morale that affected her, and I think she is very tired”, he added sharing his thoughts. He prefers to ensure his complete security with his contacts before eventually going on the spot, if possible.
“Nobody knows what these people want in exchange for the release of my mother, so of course, I go in order to release her but I already know that I will not leave with her”, Pétronin admits.
Sophie Pétronin is a humanitarian worker of a double French/Swiss nationality. She is the founder of the NGO “Aid Association in Gao”, which is focused on child welfare in northern Mali. At present she is the only abducted French national in captivity.
On December 24, 2016, Sophie Petronin was abducted in Gao. An investigation has been opened by the prosecutors in Paris and entrusted to the General Directorate for Internal Security (DGSI5).
It July 2017 first pieces of information broke out, when a jihadist group in Sahel broadcasted a video with Petronin and five other people kidnapped between 2011 and 2017 in Mali and also Burkina Faso. Their detention is claimed by the Al-Qaeda-linked group.