• Switzerland's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Video 'claims responsibility' for Swiss woman's kidnapping
French and Mali soldiers patrol outside mosque in Timbuktu earlier last year. Photo: Philippe Desmayes/AFP

Video 'claims responsibility' for Swiss woman's kidnapping

AFP · 27 Jan 2016, 08:55

Published: 27 Jan 2016 08:55 GMT+01:00

"We announce our responsibility for the kidnapping of this evangelizing disbeliever who, through her work, has succeeded in driving large numbers of Muslim sons from Islam," Al-Akhbar quoted a spokesman for the group as saying in the video, which was not broadcast.
   
In return for her release, the jihadists called for the release of a number of their fighters jailed in Mali and one of their leaders, Abu Tourab, detained at the International Criminal Court at The Hague, according to the agency.
   
Abu Ahmad Tourab is the nom de guerre of Ahmad al-Faki al-Mahdi, who is accused of ordering the destruction of historical monuments in Mali's fabled city of Timbuktu in 2012.
   
Tourab, who was a leader of the Al-Qaeda-linked Malian group Ansar Dine, is the first jihadist to appear before the war crimes court.
   
An official from the news agency told AFP that Al-Akhbar had no plans to distribute the video.
   
It was the second time Stockly has been taken captive, following her kidnapping from Timbuktu in April 2012 by Islamist fighters.
   
The social worker, who has lived in Timbuktu for years, was said at the time to be the last Westerner living in the desert city, which she refused to leave when it fell to Islamist Ansar Dine rebels on April 1st that year.
   
Two weeks later, special forces from Burkina Faso swept into rebel-held northern Mali aboard a helicopter and whisked her to safety in a pre-arranged handover by Islamist rebels.
   
At the time a loose alliance of Tuareg and Islamist rebels took advantage of the political chaos in Mali's capital that followed a March coup by capturing the country's vast desert north, including Timbuktu.
   
Stockly's capture that year brought to 24 the number of hostages seized in the Sahel region, 20 of them held by Al-Qaeda's north Africa branch, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and another Islamist group, the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO).
   
Almost all were subsequently released, but three foreign hostages seized, a South African, a Swede and a Romanian remain in captivity.
   
After Stockly's kidnapping in 2012, the Swiss foreign affairs department said it had discouraged her from another stay in Mali.
   
The jihadist fighters were chased from Mali's vast remote north in 2013 by a French-led military intervention.
   
A regional French counterterrorism force is still conducting operations in the area.
   
But entire swathes of the north remain beyond the reach of both the Malian army and foreign troops.
   
In November, 20 people, 14 of them foreigners, were killed in an attack claimed by jihadist groups on the Radisson Blu hotel in the capital, Bamako.

For more news from Switzerland, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Today's headlines
Van Gogh, Monet paintings seized in Malaysia graft probe
The works were seized following a request from the United States, one of several countries probing alleged massive fraud at the Malaysian state fund 1MDB. Photo: AFP

Switzerland has seized a painting by Vincent Van Gogh and two others by Claude Monet as part of the global investigation into Malaysia's scandal-tainted sovereign wealth fund, an official said on Friday.

IOC reports more doping failures pre-Rio
President Thomas Bach said the retesting showed the IOC's commitment to fight doping. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

The International Olympic Committee reports 45 new doping failures from Beijing 2008 and London 2012.

Swiss pilots: don’t hunt Pokémon from the air
Pokemon hunting has become a world-wide craze. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

The Swiss civil aviation office hears reports of people playing the popular new game from helicopters.

‘Nelson’ the black swan found dead in Montreux
File photo: Noel Reynolds

The non-native swan caused a media storm earlier this month.

Zurich school threatened over links to Erdogan opponent
File photo: Aris Messini/AFP

School targeted over claims it is associated with Fethullah Gulen.

Violent storms hit Switzerland as planet heats up (again)
File photo: Benjamin Benson

Globally, June 2016 was the hottest month on record.

Swiss sports court upholds ban on Russian athletes
Russia's Yelena Isinbayeva (centre) is among the athletes affected. Photo: Kirill Kudryavtsev/Wang Zhao/Greg Baker/AFP

The decision by Lausanne's Court of Arbitration for Sport is a "funeral for athletics" said one Russian athlete.

Swiss Post moves to accept debit cards – sometimes
Photo: Swiss Post

By December customers will be able to pay for products (but not their bills) by debit card.

Study: a fifth of Swiss spy on neighbours
22 percent admit to watching their neighbours. File photo: Chase Elliott Clark

And 40 percent of Swiss feel watched in their homes.

Spectacular Valais ‘bisse’ to feature on new banknote
The bisse d'Ayent. Photo: Commune of Ayent/ayent.ch

The canton's historic irrigation channels will take pride of place on the new 100 franc note.

Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Photo: Grand Tours Project
Features
Why you should get on your bike in Switzerland
Photo: The Local
Society
Swiss village tells landlords: don’t rent homes to refugees
Photo: Rolf Krahl/Christophe G
International
Survey: world willing to pay more for ‘Swissness’
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Photo: The Local
International
Chaos in Como after Swiss send back refugees
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Photo: AFP/The Local
Lifestyle
Nine top celebrity hotspots in Switzerland
Photo: Graubunden police
National
World-class Swiss climber Norbert Joos dies on ‘home mountain’
Photo: Kathleen Waters
Society
Italian ‘ignored’ by Swiss schools in language wars
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Photo: Whitepod
Features
The quirkiest places to stay in Switzerland
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
International
Migrant busted trying to sneak into Switzerland in a suitcase
Photo: Jonathan Kos-Read
National
Basel suffers wettest six months for 150 years
Photo: Georges Gobet/AFP
Technology
Why Swiss science could suffer badly from Brexit fallout
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Photo: Robert Valencia
International
Swiss couple in Nicaragua told to give back adopted daughter
Photo: Zurich cantonal police
National
Police hunt prisoner on the run in Zurich murder case
Photo: Christoph G
Politics
Switzerland sets out law on expelling foreign criminals
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Photo: Bernacqua
Lifestyle
Drone shocks nudists at Swiss waterpark
Photo: Basel Justice and Security Dept
Lifestyle
New signs lay down law and order for Basel prostitutes
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Photo: Daniel Orth
Education
Muslim school kids denied passport for refusing swimming lessons
Photo: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP
Politics
Swiss-EU talks ‘must’ resume this summer, says President
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
File photo: Kochtopf
National
Anger as Swiss council plans non-pork school lunches
File photo: Jen/Flickr
Society
Geneva could get 'café fellatio' by end of year
Features
How Switzerland's scenery inspired some of the world's greatest authors
4,640
jobs available