A missionary sister kidnapped in Mali more than two years ago is alive but struggling, an eyewitness has told reporters. Columbian Sister Gloria Cecilia Narvaez, was abducted in Mali on February 7, 2017.
French aid worker Sophie Petronin, who was released from captivity last week with other hostages, including Father Pierluigi Maccalli, has made an appeal to President Emmanuel Macron, asking him to intervene to help release Sister Cecilia.
She said: Sister Gloria's spirit is giving way - "We must do everything to get her out of there."
Sophie said she spent most of her captivity with Sister Gloria. The two women were together until October 5, when Mrs Petronin was transferred for her release on October 8.
She said that they went through about 30 different camps and shared everything: blankets, food and water. She said no kind of violence was used against them, except once, when Sister Gloria got lost during a walk and was then tied up for three days.
Cardinal Jean Zerbo, Archbishop of Bamako, has asked for the release of all hostages still in the hands of jihadist groups. He said: "Every time we pray, we ask the Lord for the release of Sister Gloria and all the other hostages. This represents a grave humiliation for Mali. They came to do good and were kidnapped by bandits, as if they were slaves. It is a sin for our country."
Sister Gloria Cecilia Narvaez of the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of Mary Immaculate was kidnapped in Karangasso in southern Mali on 7 February 2017 by jihadists linked to Al Qaida in the Sahel.
Violence is on the rise in Mali. At least 25 people, including 13 soldiers, were killed in several attacks in central Mali. The most serious episode took place on 6 October when a jihadist group attacked an army base in Sokoura, near the border with Burkina Faso, and ambushed the troops sent as reinforcements.