Red Cross announces release of employees kidnapped in Mali

Red Cross announces release of employees kidnapped in Mali

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said Monday two of its staff kidnapped in Mali, early March, have been freed, without providing more details.

“The two ICRC collaborators kidnapped on March 4 between (the cities of) Gao and Kidal (north) were released this (Sunday) evening”, announced the Malian branch of the ICRC on Twitter. “Our colleagues are doing well and have been released unharmed and unconditionally,” the NGO said.

It also thanked all those who contributed to their release.

The two employees “will be reunited with their families as soon as possible,” said Antoine Grand, head of the ICRC delegation in Mali, in a press release published elsewhere.

The organization also indicated that it will not disclose the names or nationalities of the two employees to “protect their privacy”. ICRC also stopped short of providing any details of the abduction, captivity, or the release.

Mali has been plagued since 2012 by the spread of jihadism and violence of all kinds. This vast, poor and landlocked country is plunged into a deep crisis, not only security but also political and humanitarian. It is ruled by a junta following two military coups in 2020 and 2021.

The violence is carried out by armed groups affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group, but also by self-proclaimed militias and bandits.

Kidnappings are one aspect of this violence, whether they target foreigners or Malians. The motivations, ideological or villainous, range from the demand for ransom to the act of reprisals through the will to bargain.

Insecurity makes the work of humanitarian organizations very complicated and dangerous. A doctor from the World Health Organization (WHO) was kidnapped in late January in eastern Mali before being released in February.

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