Three Italians, two adults and their child, and a Togo citizen were kidnapped in Mali by “armed men”. This was reported by local sources cited by France Presse and Al Jazeera. The four were kidnapped last night in Sinzina, in the district of Koutiala, in the south of the country. The group, according to initial information, could belong to Jehovah’s Witnesses. A Malian security source, who preferred to remain anonymous, confirmed the event to the AFP: “Armed men kidnapped three Italian citizens and a Togolese citizen last night. We do everything possible to obtain their release”. The Farnesina announces that the Crisis Unit of the Foreign Ministry is carrying out the necessary checks and investigations. “Minister Di Maio is personally following the evolution of the affair”, adds the Farnesina in a note.
Strongly destabilized area
Since 2012, Mali has been the scene of attacks carried out by jihadist groups linked to Al-Qaeda and Isis, as well as violence of all kinds perpetrated by militias and bandits who claim to be self-defense formations. This violence, which began in the north in 2012, has spread to the center, then to neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger, causing thousands of civilian and military deaths and hundreds of thousands of displaced people, despite the deployment of UN, French and African forces.
The French journalist kidnapped in 2021
A 47-year-old French freelance journalist who has lived and worked in Mali since 2015, Olivier Dubois, was kidnapped in the country over a year ago. It was he himself who announced his kidnapping in a video broadcast on social networks on May 5, 2021: he explained that he was kidnapped on April 8 in Gao (north) by the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (Gsim or Jnim ), the main jihadist alliance in the Sahel, linked to Al-Qaeda and led by the Malian Tuareg leader Iyad Ag Ghaly. On March 13, a video was circulated on social media showing a man who appears to be the French journalist and who addresses his relatives and the government of Paris.