Hosted for four years in Mali and released in October 2020, Sophie Pétronin returned to Bamako more than seven months ago against the will of the French authorities.
Sophie Pétronin, the 76-year-old former French hostage in Mali, has been living in Bamako for nearly eight months, according to information revealed by Radio France. In March, she returned to the country and entered it in irregularly.
Radio France reports that she was accompanied by her son when she returned to Mali in March 2021. Sophie Pétronin used the pretext of going on vacation to Africa, to Senegal, to then go by bus, by road to Mali, while the authorities in Bamako had refused to issue her a visa. Therefore, she illegally returned to Mali.
Faced with this systematic refusal, she ended up convincing her son Sébastien, in charge of her reception in Switzerland, to pretend a vacation in Casamance (Senegal), to take a flight from Geneva to Dakar. After three days of traveling by bus and motorbike taxis, she would have reached Mali via road.
Her return could be explained by the fact that she wanted to find her adopted child, Zeinabou, who remained in Mali after her return to France.
Anthony Fouchard, journalist at TV5 Monde, said that she was “in Mali and in good physical health.” According to the latter, who was able to discuss with Sophie Pétronin, she is back in Mali because there is an adopted daughter who is in her twenties that she had not seen since the four years of her detention and her release. .
This decision was made without considering the possible impact on France. Anthony Fouchard said that she doesn’t care about it because the people she loves are what matter. […]She reportedly said it over the telephone, “I don’t care about what people think.”
The former Franco-Swiss hostage Sophie Pétronin was released in October 2020 after four years of detention in northern Mali. After four years in captivity and struggling with Al-Qaeda jihadists, this former humanitarian fled the country to seek refuge with her family.
Also according to Radio France, Sophie Pétronin did not support his return from captivity. When he arrived in France, the hostage mentioned his desire to return to Mali to ensure that his association continued to function. On several occasions, the humanitarian worker involved in Mali for 25 years, raised the possibility of ending her life during family reunions, in the presence of the children of her son Sébastien who accompanied her on his return to Mali.
The Malian Ministry of Public Security confirmed to Anthony Fouchard that the Malian gendarmerie has a mandate to arrest Sophie Pétronin and that she is therefore actively sought by the Malian forces.
Radio France’s international editorial staff confirmed the information. It is currently the subject of a search notification, distributed by the Malian gendarmerie at the end of Friday, October 29,
She requests all units to find the French humanitarian worker and apprehend her.