Swiss woman held hostage in Mali killed by extremists, Switzerland says

A Swiss woman who was held hostage in Mali has been killed by an Islamist group, Switzerland’s Foreign Ministry said Friday.

The ministry said in a statement it was informed by the French authorities that the hostage, whose name wasn’t released, had been “killed by kidnappers of the Islamist terrorist organization Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslim about a month ago.”

The group is Mali’s branch of al-Qaeda.

Switzerland’s foreign minister expressed shock over the news.

“It was with great sadness that I learned of the death of our fellow citizen,” Ignazio Cassis said in a statement. “I condemn this cruel act and express my deepest sympathy to the relatives.”

Cassis said the exact circumstances of her death are currently still unclear.

“The information about the killing was obtained by the French authorities from the recently released French hostage,” the ministry said.

France President Emmanuel Macron, right, stands as Sophie Petronin, second from right, is greeted by relatives at a military airport near Paris. Petronin, an aid worker, was held for four years by Islamist extremists in Mali before being released with three other hostages this week. (Gonzalo Fuentes/Pool Photo via AP)

The ministry said it is trying to find out more about the circumstances of the killing and the whereabouts of the remains.

Swiss media reported that the hostage was a Christian missionary from the northwestern city of Basel.

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