French national kidnapped in Mali


A female French national has been kidnapped in Mali’s restive north region, the French foreign ministry has confirmed.

Sophie Petronin, an aid worker, was abducted in Gao on Saturday, the ministry said, adding that French authorities were collaborating with Malian authorities to find her as quickly as possible.

It was not clear who was responsible for the act, or why the aid worker was taken, according to a Malian commandant Baba Cisse.

“We immediately launched a search,” AFP reports a Malian security source to say, without revealing how she was abducted.

A local radio station in Gao said the aid worker was affiliated with Aide Gao, a small nonprofit that helps children suffering from malnutrition. Petronin, who is in her sixties, had been working in Gao for a long time.

Mali’s government signed a peace deal last year with secular armed groups, but fighters pledging allegiance to both al-Qaeda and ISIL have fought on and launched dozens of attacks on Western targets in recent months.