Mali, Italians kidnapped: the previous kidnappings

Today’s kidnapping is just the latest in a series of kidnappings involving our compatriots in the Sahel region

The kidnapping of three Italian citizens in Mali today is just the latest in a series of kidnappings involving our compatriots in the Sahel region. The 31-year-old from Padua Luca Tacchetti, the priest from Cremona Pier Luigi Maccalli and the Campania cycling tourist Nicola Chiacchio spent months kidnapped by jihadist groups close to al-Qaeda until their liberation in Mali.

Luca Tacchetti and his Canadian partner Edith Blais, kidnapped on 15 December 2018 while they were in Burkina Faso, found their freedom in Mali in March 2020, after 15 months of imprisonment. The two managed to escape from their jailers on the evening of 12 March, as Tacco will tell the prosecutors of Rome and the carabinieri of the Ros. Returning to Italy on March 15, 2020, the 31-year-old from Padua explained that the kidnapping was carried out by a group that called itself a jihadist close to al-Qaeda, who had been treated well by the kidnappers, never threatened with weapons.

Father Pier Luigi Maccalli, priest of the Society of African Missions, was kidnapped on 17 September 2018 150 kilometers from the Niger capital Niamey. It will be released on October 9, 2020 together with the tourist Nicola Chiacchio after two years of imprisonment and several passages to three different groups of the jihadist galaxy headed by al-Qaeda. Never threatened with death, the two will tell prosecutors that the most difficult moments are those that followed the escape of Tacchetta and his partner. “They kept us chained to trees for a few days, but then the situation calmed down,” they explained.

The tourist from Campania Nicola Chiacchio was instead kidnapped in Mali on February 4, 2019 while he was taking a tourist tour by bicycle. He confirmed the priest’s version and pointed to three different areas of captivity, including the desert areas of Mali and the rocky area to the north.