Militant group suspected in Mali aid worker's abduction

French aid worker kidnapped on Dec. 24 in front of Swiss NGO's office maybe in the hands of al-Qaeda linked group

Militant group suspected in Mali aid worker's abduction

World Bulletin / News Desk

A French aid worker abducted in northern Mali last week is likely to be in the hands of the al-Qaeda linked al-Mourabitoun militant group, according to a French daily Thursday.

Preliminary reports suggest Sophie Petronin was “certainly taken hostage” by al-Mourabitoun, Le Figaro quoted the prosecutor Boubacar Sidiki Samake as saying.

Petronin was abducted on Saturday by three armed men in front of a Swiss NGO’s office where she had been working for years in Sosokoira district in Gao, eyewitnesses said.

Al-Mourabitoun is a militant group linked to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) that was formed in 2013. It is active in northern Mali and Africa's Sahel region.

Al-Mourabitoun is now divided into two factions, one led by Mokhtar Belmokhtar, an Algerian. This faction has claimed responsibility for several attacks in the region, including a hotel siege in Burkina Faso last January that led to the death of at least 28 people.

Eighteen nationalities were among the dead, including those of France, Switzerland, the U.S. and Canada.

It also claimed responsibility for a 2013 hostage-taking incident at a gas plant in southeastern Algeria; an attack on a nightclub in Bamako earlier this year in which five people were killed; and the attack on Byblos Hotel in Sevare, central Mali last August that killed 17 people.

The second faction pledged allegiance to ISIL in May 2015 and is led by Abou Walid al-Sahraoui.

Despite the presence of French and UN peacekeeping forces in Mali, insurgents are still very active, especially in the northern part of the country.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 29 Aralık 2016, 13:08