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French hostage Sophie Pétronin released in Mali after 1,381 days in captivity

After nearly four years in captivity, a French aid worker named Sophie Pétronin has been released in Mali. Pétronin was kidnapped in 2016 at the age of 72 while running a charity for children in Gao, Mali, who were suffering from malnutrition. Pétronin was captured by Islamic extremists and was released alongside prominent Malian politician Soumaïla Cissé, who was held in captivity for seven months, according to local media. French President Emmanual Macron stated that he was relieved to hear of Pétronin’s release in a statement issued by the French government.

Pétronin was held captive by the extremists for 1,381 days. Pétronin’s son arrived in Bamako, Mali, to greet his mother despite worries over what state she would appear in, likely very sick and weak. The Malian government only confirmed Cissé and Pétronin’s release yesterday, and little other information was provided about where the hostages were kept and what they were subject too. It remains unclear why Pétronin was kidnapped, but it is likely due to her ethnicity as a French woman and her role in Mali as an aid worker.

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