North African al-Qaeda group release video of Swiss captive

North African al-Qaeda group release video of Swiss captive
2 min read
11 January, 2017
Beatrice Stockly - a Swiss missionary who is believed to be held hostage in Mali - has emerged in a video released by al-Qaeda's North Africa faction.
Stockly was released in 2012 after an earlier kidnapping [AFP]

Al-Qaeda's affiliate in North Africa released a new proof-of-life video of Swiss missionary Beatrice Stockly on Tuesday, held hostage in Mali by the group since last January.

The al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) video, which lasts two minutes and 17 seconds, was posted on social media sites Telegram and Twitter, according to US-based monitoring group SITE.

In the clip a woman whose head is covered by a black veil identifies herself as Stockly. She says the date of the recording is 31 December, 2016, and that she has been held hostage by AQIM for 360 days.

She spoke in French, with her weary voice barely audible and her face blurred out.

Stockly greeted her family and thanked the Swiss government "for all the efforts they have made".

"I am in good health," she added.

In late January 2016, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claimed responsibility in a video for Stockly's kidnapping, which it said took place on 7 January.

The group said it would free her in exchange for a number of al-Qaeda fighters jailed in Mali and one of their leaders held in The Hague.

Switzerland has demanded her release without conditions.

AQIM released a second similar video in mid-June aimed at proving she was still alive.

Stockly, who is in her 40s, is a Christian missionary who was previously abducted by jihadis in northern Mali's Timbuktu in 2012.

On that occasion, she was freed about two weeks later, and opted to keep living in Mali.