Militants ‘release’ Malian politician and French hostage

Africa

The family of the last French hostage held by Islamist group in Mali say she has been released.

They say Sophie Petronin – a 75-year-old aid worker- is on her way to the capital, Bamako – though there has been no confirmation from the French government.

Petronin was abducted by al-Qaeda-linked gunmen in the northern city of Gao where she had been running a charity.

Reports from Mali say that another hostage, the veteran opposition and former presidential candidate Soumaila Cisse, 70, has also been released by the militants.

Cisse had been held since March.

There are indications that the releases are part of a deal that includes more than 100 imprisoned juhadists being set free by the authorities.

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