Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE DEBATE

Next stop, Westminster: Supreme Court orders Brexit parliament vote (part 1)

Read more

THE DEBATE

Next stop, Westminster: Supreme Court orders Brexit parliament vote (part 2)

Read more

FOCUS

Iranian women push boundaries through sport

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Crowds, Lies & Alternative Facts

Read more

ENCORE!

Backstage at the Haute Couture show of designer Julien Fournié

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

President Trump pulls US out of TPP trade deal

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Donald Trump is rolling back the clock on diversity in the cabinet'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Did France's left inflate turnout figures in round one of the primary?

Read more

ACROSS AFRICA

Dozens killed in attack on military camp in Mali

Read more

Africa france 24

Swiss woman kidnapped in northern Mali

© AFP PHOTO/PHILIPPE DESMAZES | French soldiers of the 93rd Mountain Artillery Regiment and soldiers of the Malian Armed Forces patrol next to the Djingareyber Mosque on June 6, 2015 in Timbuktu

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2016-01-27

A Swiss woman was kidnapped by gunmen in the northern Malian city of Timbuktu on Friday, according to FRANCE 24's sister radio station RFI. The woman had previously been abducted in April 2012 by Islamist militants.

The Swiss national was abducted overnight Thursday to Friday in Timbuktu, where she had been living for several years, RFI reported.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is active in desert areas north of the city and has a history of seizing foreigners and demanding ransoms.

The incident comes nearly four years after the woman, believed to be Beatrice Stockly, was kidnapped by Islamist militants from the same house. A missionary, she was released later the same month following negotiations mediated by Burkina Faso.

Four vehicles were used in Friday’s abduction, said a military source in Timbuktu who declined to be identified.

“One vehicle parked in front of the house and armed men got out and abducted the woman, while the other three cars secured the area from a distance,” said the source.

French forces drove Islamist fighters from major urban centres in 2013 but they have intensified their insurgency with a series of attacks and roadside bombings last year.

The Swiss foreign ministry formed a task force when it heard about Friday’s kidnapping and was working for the woman’s safe release, a statement said, adding that since 2009 it had advised against travel to Mali because of the high risk of kidnapping.

“After the kidnapping of 2012, the ministry had pointed out to the affected Swiss national the high personal risk in Mali ... and strongly discouraged her from another stay in Mali,” it said.

France continues to fight militants in Mali and elsewhere in the desert region with a 3,500-strong counter-terrorism force called Barkhane. A 10,000-strong UN peacekeeping force is also present in Mali.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)

Date created : 2016-01-08

  • MALI

    Gunmen launch deadly attack on UN peacekeeping base in Mali

    Read more

  • MALI

    Security fears mount as rival jihadists claim Mali hotel attack

    Read more

  • FRANCE - MALI

    Key jihadist linked to French journalists’ murders killed in Mali

    Read more

COMMENT(S)