A Franciscan nun from Colombia, Sister Gloria Cecilia Narvaez kidnapped by jihadists in Mali more than four years ago has been freed.
The release was confirmed by Mali’s presidency.
Sister Gloria Cecilia Narvaez was kidnapped on February 7, 2017 in southern Mali near the border with Burkina Faso where she had been working as a missionary.
A statement on the presidential Twitter account paid tribute to her “courage and bravery” along with photos of the nun taken after her release Saturday.
Reacting to her releases, the nun thanked the presidency for all the efforts made to secure her release.
May God bless you, may God bless Mali,” Sister Gloria said in images broadcast on state television showing her with Mali’s interim president Colonel Assimi Goita and the archbishop of Bamako Jean Zerbo.
“I am very happy, I stayed healthy for five years, thank God,” the nun added.
The Mali presidency said the nun’s liberation had been the fruit of “four years and eight months of the combined effort of several intelligence services.
In the official statement, Goita assured that “efforts are underway” to secure the release of all those still being held in Mali.
Confirming the development, Archbishop Zerbo said Sister Gloria was “doing well”.
“We prayed a lot for her release. I thank the Malian authorities and other good people who made this release possible,” the archbishop said.
59-year-old sister Gloria was kidnapped near Koutiala, 400 kilometres (250 miles) east of Bamako. She had worked as a missionary for six years in the parish of Karangasso with three other nuns.
According to one of her colleagues, Sister Carmen Isabel Valencia, she offered herself in place of two younger nuns the kidnappers were preparing to take.
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