A Franciscan nun from Colombia who was abducted in 2017 by fighters in Mali has been freed.
Sister Gloria Cecilia Narvaez was released on Saturday October 9, after more than four years in captivity.
She was taken hostage on February 7, 2017, by the Macina Liberation Front, an al-Qaeda-linked group in southern Mali near the border with Burkina Faso where she had been working as a missionary.
Following her release, Narvaez met with Mali’s interim President Assimi Goita.
“I first thank God, who is the light and the peace, I thank the Malian authorities, the president for all the efforts made so that I am free,” she said in a brief statement made on state television.
“I am very happy, I stayed healthy for five years, thank God,” she added.
“The presidency of Mali salutes the courage and bravery of the nun. This liberation is the crowning achievement of four years and eight months of combined efforts by several intelligence services,” the presidency said in a statement.
According to one of her colleagues, Sister Carmen Isabel Valencia, Narvaez offered herself in place of two younger nuns the kidnappers were preparing to take.
“She is a woman of a very particular human quality, down to earth … moved by the love of the poor,” Sister Carmen said.
In Colombia, her brother Edgar Narvaez said he was very emotional after receiving news of her release.
“She is in good health, thank God. They sent me pictures and she looks well,” he told AFP.