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ICRC mission Humanitarian staff kidnapped in Mali set free

Attacks and kidnappings by Islamist fundamentalists began to spread to southern Mali in 2015. The archive picture shows an incident in the capital, Bamako 

(Keystone)

Four members of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Red Cross organisation kidnapped in Mali have been set free.

Unidentified gunmen abducted the team assessing the human rights situation in the central Mopti region on Monday, according to an ICRC spokesman. Local authorities said on Tuesday that the team has been set free and no ransom money was paid. 

Authorities said that the fact that the kidnapped workers were locals may have aided in their release.

A radical Islamist group is believed to be behind the kidnapping. Last year, the Islamist group Ansar Dine temporarily held three ICRC workers hostage in northeast Mali.

Swiss missionary 

The Swiss-based ICRC has the mandate to protect victims of international and internal armed conflicts, include war wounded, prisoners, refugees and civilians.

Rebel groups linked to al-Qaida still control parts of northern Mali, despite international military efforts, including the United Nations and the former colonial power France to recapture the territory.

A jihadist group in January 2016 also kidnapped a Christian missionary from Switzerland, Beatrice Stöckli, in the central city of Timbuktu.

Switzerland has demanded Stöckli’s unconditional release, but the militants say they want jihadist fighters imprisoned in Mali and Niger to be released in exchange.

swissinfo.ch with agencies/ug


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