Swiss woman abducted for 2nd time in northern Mali

AP News
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Posted: Jan 08, 2016 9:50 AM
Swiss woman abducted for 2nd time in northern Mali

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — A Swiss woman who had been briefly abducted back in 2012 was kidnapped again by suspected jihadists who scaled the walls of her home in northern Mali in the middle of the night, authorities said Friday.

Witnesses say Beatrice Stockly's door was found open Friday morning in Timbuktu, the town where she returned the year after her first kidnapping. Footprints in the sand showed where the attackers had apparently jumped the walls of her home.

"People were sleeping but neighbors heard the noise — the woman screamed a lot," said Bilal Mahamane Traore, a town councilor in Timbuktu. "Not a single neighbor, though, called security forces."

It was unclear which group was responsible.

Switzerland's Foreign Ministry said it is aware of a "suspected kidnapping of a female Swiss national in Mali."

Stockly, a Christian, remained in Timbuktu even after it fell to al-Qaida-linked extremists in 2012. She was abducted that April and ended up in the hands of extremist group Ansar Dine.

She was freed some 10 days later after a mediation effort led by neighboring Burkina Faso, and ultimately returned to Timbuktu the following year after the town was freed in a French-led military effort.

Stockly was accused by the Islamists of proselytizing for Christianity and warned that she would be executed if she ever tried to return to Timbuktu.

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Associated Press writer Frank Jordans in Berlin contributed to this report.