Son of Sophie Pétronin, French hostage in Mali, says she is still alive
Sophie Pétronin is the only French hostage in the world. The 75-year-old was kidnapped in the Malian city of Gao in December 2016. In July 2017, the jihadist group GSIM claimed her kidnapping. Speaking to FRANCE 24, her son Sébastien Chadaud-Pétronin said "we know that she is alive", while admitting he had no "formal evidence". He also cast doubt on the idea that his mother is being held by Malian jihadist leader Iyad Ag Ghaly, pointing out the divisions among jihadist groups in the region.
Expressing dissatisfaction with the French authorities' attitude towards his mother's fate, Sébastien Chadaud-Pétronin urged President Emmanuel Macron to "clarify" his stance regarding Sophie Pétronin.
Chadaud-Pétronin said the French president is entitled to refuse to negotiate with the hostage-takers, but that this attitude no doubt rules out his mother's release. He added that he and his family will do their utmost to obtain her release by themselves, despite the French authorities' advice not to do so. Finally, he sent a message of encouragement to his mother.