French aid worker kidnapped in Mali

26 December, 2016 12:00 AM printer

PARIS: A Frenchwoman who runs an organisation for malnourished children has been kidnapped in Mali’s restive north, France’s foreign ministry confirmed on Sunday, as French troops joined in the search for the aid worker, reports AFP.

Sophie Petronin was abducted in the city of Gao on Saturday, the ministry said, adding that French and Malian authorities were working together “to find and free our compatriot as quickly as possible”.

“French soldiers of the Barkhane force (in Mali) are actively taking part in the search alongside the Malians,” a French military source told AFP without giving further details. Petronin was the director of a non-governmental organisation that helps children suffering from malnutrition, the ministry said, adding that officials were in contact with her family.

Malian officials had on Saturday reported the kidnapping of a woman with dual French and Swiss nationality in Gao, but the Swiss foreign ministry said Sunday there was no indication that Petronin held Swiss citizenship.