An evangelical missionary from Switzerland who was held captive by Islamist extremists in Mali since January 2016, has been killed, Switzerland’s Federal Department of Foreign Affairs announced. She was 59.
“It was with great sadness that I learned of the death of our fellow citizen,” Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis said in a recent statement.
“I condemn this cruel act and express my deepest sympathy to the relatives,” Cassis said in his statement on her death.
News about missionary Beatrice Stockli’s death came from recently released French hostage Sophie Pétronin, a 75-year-old French charity worker who was abducted by jihadists in December 2016, BBC reported.
Pétronin, who converted to Islam during her captivity, reported that the missionary was reportedly shot dead about a month ago after she refused to take part in another move with her kidnappers in the Sahara. Pétronin said they moved around regularly to keep Malian and French soldiers from tracking them down. She said Stockli was dragged outdoors one night during her protest and she then heard a shot go off.
Swiss authorities, according to the FDFA, are making every effort to find out more about the circumstances of the killing and the whereabouts of the remains of the missionary.
“Switzerland will make every effort to preserve the remains of the Swiss hostage. To this end, the FDFA will also approach the transition government in Mali,” the agency said.
“Together with the relevant Malian authorities and with international partners, the Swiss authorities have worked over the past four years to ensure that the Swiss citizen is released and can return to her family. Members of the Federal Council have personally and repeatedly lobbied the relevant Malian authorities for her release.”