Religious Sister held hostage in Mali still in captivity 4 years on.

Sr Gloria Cecilia Narváez, a Colombian religious sister from the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of Mary Immaculate, kidnapped in Mali in 2017 is still in captivity.

Agenzia Fides – Bamako

Time passes, relentlessly and with cruelty: 4 years and 5 months ago, Sister Gloria Cecilia Narváez, a Colombian religious sister from the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of Mary Immaculate, fell into the hands of jihadists in Mali.

Group to Support Islam and Muslims

The shadowy Group to Support Islam and Muslims (GSIM) in the Sahel, affiliated with Al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of Sr Gloria on the 1 July 2017. They posted a video on the internet showing Sr Gloria being held captive in the desert of northern Mali. They are the same kidnappers who held hostage Father Gigi Maccalli, released after two years of imprisonment in 2020.

“In the video, absurd accusations were made against Sister Gloria and all missionaries working in Mali and in the Muslim Sahel,” Father Marco Prada, a priest of the Society for African Missions (SMA) told Agenzia Fides.

Sr Gloria Cecilia Narváez was accused, by the Jihadists, of converting Muslims.

Sister Gloria needs medical care

Colombian authorities have highlighted Sister Gloria’s poor health.

 “She is alive, but her health is not good. She has leg and kidney problems”, said General Fernando Murillo, commander of the Colombian police,  investigating the kidnapping.

Fr. Prada further explained that the French hostage Sophie Pétronin, released by her captives, confirmed the seriousness of Sr Gloria’s health condition.

Colombian authorities searching for Sr Gloria

A few weeks ago, some Colombian newspapers claimed that the Colombian government had withdrawn a group of investigators, belonging to the special forces of the Colombian army and the secret services, sent to Mali a year and half ago, in a search and rescue operation for Sr Gloria.

Together with their Malian counterparts, the Colombian team was in Mali trying to establish contact with the kidnappers to facilitate the religious sister’s release.

The government has not provided any explanation for the alleged withdrawal.