Al-Qaeda Takes Responsibility for Abduction of Swiss Missionary
Beatrice Stockly, left, in Timbuktu 2000. She was previously kidnapped in 2012.
Last month, we reported on the kidnapping of Swiss missionary Beatrice Stockly, who was abducted in Mali. In a recent eight-minute video showing Stockly dressed in a black hijab, a masked speaker with a British accent claims responsibility for the kidnapping on behalf of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
“Beatrice Stockly is a Swiss nun who declared war against Islam in her attempt to Christianize Muslims,” the speaker said.
The conditions of her safe return include the release of AQIM fighters jailed in Mali, as well as one of their leaders detained at the International Criminal Court at The Hague. Switzerland has demanded Ms. Stockly’s unconditional release.
AQIM, which is based in the Sahara Desert between Mali, Niger and Algeria, was involved in the deadly January attack in Ouagadougou, the capital of neighboring Burkina Faso, which left 29 dead, including a US missionary and six Canadians visiting the country on behalf of a church. Earlier in the month, AQIM released Jocelyn Elliott, an Australian Christian woman kidnapped with her husband in northern Burkina Faso on the same day as the attack in the capital. The Islamist group said in an audio recording that it had released Mrs. Elliott due to its desire, “not to make women involved in the war”.
Stockly was taken from her home in Timbuktu by armed gunmen on January 7th. A local church leader, who said he had previously worked with Stockly, told World Watch Monitor that the missionary was working for a Swiss church when she initially settled in Timbuktu in 2000, but later continued her work without a church affiliation.
He said Stockly is in her forties and leads an simple life, selling flowers and handing out Christian materials. He described her as sociable, particularly among women and children.
Stockly made her home is in Abaradjou, a popular district of Timbuktu frequented by armed jihadist groups. She was previously taken from that same residence in April 2012, when armed Islamist groups occupied northern Mali. She was released 10 days later, following mediation led by neighboring Burkina Faso.
The most important condition of her release, the speaker in the video said, was that she not return to any Muslim land preaching Christianity. The Swiss government had warned her not to return to Mali after her release in 2012.
A peace agreement signed by the Mali government and the predominantly Tuareg rebel in June 2015 has had a very limited impact. Jihadist groups have regained ground and intensified attacks, targeting Mali security forces and UN peacekeepers. Their campaign has also spread to southern regions previously spared by their incursions.
Source: World Watch Monitor
Thank You, Father, for the testimony of Beatrice Stockly who has given all in service to You. We thank You that she is in Your tender arms of mercy where she has chosen to dwell regardless of her earthly plight. Grant wisdom and favor to those who are considering how they might help. With her, we pray that this time of danger might not be in vain but that You might bring about Your good purposes through her life and Christ who dwells in her. We pray for peace to come to the nation of Mali in West Africa. Most importantly we pray that they might know the peace with You, Father, through the sacrifice of Your Son. In the Name of Jesus, the Lamb of God who leads us to springs of living water (Rev 7), Amen.