Beatrice Stöckli was reported dead by Swiss authorities after four years hold hostage. The Institute of Forensic Medicine at the University of Zurich confirms the DNA tests.
The Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), along with Mali's foreign ministry, have confirmed that the remains of Beatrice Stockli, a Swiss evangelical missionary who was held captive by Islamist extremists in Mali since 2016, haves been found and identified.
“Sadly, we now have definitive evidence that the woman who was held hostage is dead”, pointed out Swiss Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis in a FDFA statement.
Cassis added that, despite the tragedy, he was “also relieved that we can return the remains to her family and I would like to pass on my deepest condolences to them. I also wish to thank the Malian authorities for their assistance in helping to identify the body”.
The FDFA reported that the International Committee of the Red Cross delivered unidentified remains to Malian authorities, who carried out DNA tests and sent them to Switzerland for further investigation. The Institute of Forensic Medicine at the University of Zurich then confirmed that the DNA matches that of the Swiss hostage.
Last October, the FDFA announced that Stockli had been killed by kidnappers of the Islamist terrorist organization Jama'at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslim (JNIM) They were informed by the French authorities after aid worker Sophie Pétronin, who was abducted with her and released, reported her death.
JNIM is a Islamic terrorist militia, one of the cruellest fighting groups in the African Sahel. It is made up of remnants of the Al-Qaeda branch AQMI and the “Helpers of Islam” (Ansar al-Islam). Both have been fighting for years in Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad against Christians and westerns.
According to Pétronin, after refusing to be moved to another part of the Sahara by her kidnappers, the evangelical missionary was dragged out into a gravel hollow in the stone desert and shot dead.
Since then “the Swiss authorities have been calling constantly for the Malian authorities to hand over the body and clarify the circumstances of the woman's death”, says the FDFA statement.
“Mr Cassis also discussed the killing of the hostage with high government officials during his visit to Mali in February 2021 and an interdepartmental task force continues to work on this case and is in regular contact with the family and the Malian authorities”, it adds.
Stockli started working in Timbuktu city for Germany-based missionary group Neues Leben Ghana, (New Life Ghana) led by evangelical Christian pastor Jörn André in 2000, but a few years later she decided to work alone, teaching children about Jesus and to write and read.
In 2012, the evangelical missionary was kidnapped by the jihadist group Ansar Dine but released 10 days later after mediation led by the government of Burkina Faso.
She was abducted again in 2016,. along with Pétronin, a Malian opposition politician and two Italians, who were also released.
In the more than four years she remained kidnapped, Stöckli allegedly appeared in several videos, where she was accused of “war against Islam in her attempt to Christianize Muslims”, and forced to appeal to her government for the freeing of AQMI jihadist fighters jailed in Mali.
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