Swiss Woman Kidnapped In Timbuktu

Swiss Woman Kidnapped In Timbuktu

A Swiss woman has been kidnapped from her home in the northern Malian town of Timbuktu, security officials say.

Sources told the AFP news agency that she is the same missionary who was held for more than a week by Islamist gunmen in 2012 when the north had been taken over by groups linked to al-Qaeda.

On that occasion the woman was freed with the help of mediators from neighbouring Burkina Faso.

A French-led operation in 2013 drove Islamist fighters from northern towns.

A 12,000-strong UN peacekeeping force has now been deployed there, but militant groups are still active in the vast desert region.

Souleymane Maiga, a spokesman for the Malian army, told Reuters new agency that the Swiss national was taken from her house in the historic city on Thursday night.

A Timbuktu government official told AFP she was “Beatrice, a Swiss citizen”.

Beatrice Stockly was seized by Islamist group Ansar Dine group in 2012.

According to AFP, two foreign hostages seized in 2011 by members of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), a South African and a Swede, are still in captivity.