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Abducted Mali nun appeals to Pope Francis for release

West & Central Africa

Abducted Mali nun appeals to Pope Francis for release

Screen grab, Al Qaeda Propaganda video

A Nun who was abducted by Al-Qaeda nearly a year ago has appeared in a propaganda video begging Pope Francis to negotiate her release.
Gloria Cecilia Narvaez Argoti, a Franciscan Sister and missionary, was kidnapped on 7 February 2017, in Karangasso, near Koutiala, in southern Mali by the Al-Qaeda-linked group, “Groupe de soutien à l’ Islam et aux musulmans” (Group for Support of Islam and Muslims).

Gloria speaking in French said, “I ask of you to help in my freedom and to do the impossible and release me.”

She went on to congratulate Pope Francis on his “tour of Latin America” expressing a regret that she was in captivity while Christians are celebrating Christmas.

The video said, “Others are parading around the world, calling for support of the weak, calling for peace, and helping the needy…or so they claim.” The narrator added added that Gloria was neglected because she was not “the First World”. The reference to Christmas showed the video was made in late December.

Al Qaeda in the Mahgreb

As if to demonstrate its willingness to negotiate the video showed former hostages it had released in the past.

Gloria who had worked as a missionary for six years before her abduction previously appeared in a propaganda video in July 2017. At that time they accused her of “supporting the crusaders in Mali by preaching Christianity” and presented this as the reason for her abduction, together with six other Western hostages. Three of their number kidnapped in Mali or Burkina Faso have since been released.

Gloria, in the video, also pleaded with her family in Colombia to work towards her release.

Gloria and women she works with

Responding to the request on the propaganda video, General Fernando Murillo, head of the Colombian National Police’s anti-kidnapping division, said, “We’ll have to wait for a statement from that group to know what they will demand.”
He added: “The Pope is aware of what Colombia is doing and to what point we’ve come to obtain her release,”

Gloria’s missionary work in Mali, was caring for children orphaned at birth, and teaching literacy to about 700 Muslim women.

 

Hassan John is west Africa Editor, GCN and Priest of the Anglican Diocese of Jos.

Image credits: Google image/ Gloria Colombian/Screen shot Al Qaeda video

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