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French hostage freed in Mali arrives home in France

PARIS — A 75-year-old French aid worker held hostage for four years by Islamic extremists in Mali was reunited Friday with her grandchildren in France, as relatives also welcomed home two Italians and a Malian politician freed with her this week.

They were released earlier this week, days after the Malian government freed nearly 200 Islamic militants in an apparent prisoner exchange.

But the homecoming was muted by the announcement later Friday that a Swiss woman held captive by the same extremist group had been killed. Swiss officials said Beatrice Stoeckli, whose release they had quietly been trying to negotiate since she was kidnapped four years ago, was killed about a month ago. They said they received the information from French authorities, who were notified by “the recently released French hostage.”

“It was with great sadness that I learned of the death of our fellow citizen,” Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio

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French Hostage Freed in Mali Arrives Home in France | World News

By BABA AHMED and ANGELA CHARLTON, Associated Press

PARIS (AP) — A 75-year-old French aid worker held hostage for four years by Islamic extremists in Mali was reunited Friday with her grandchildren in France, as relatives also welcomed home two Italians and a Malian politician freed with her this week.

They were released earlier this week, days after the Malian government freed nearly 200 Islamic militants in an apparent prisoner exchange.

But later Friday the Swiss government said a Swiss national held captive by the same extremist group had been killed. The foreign ministry didn’t name the woman, It said it had received the information from French authorities, who were notified by “the recently released French hostage.”

Earlier Friday, 75-year-old French aid worker Sophie Petronin descended from a plane at the Villacoublay military airport southwest of Paris, where she was greeted by French President Emmanuel Macron.

Wearing a white veil

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French hostage freed in Mali arrives home in France to hugs

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — A 75-year-old French aid worker held hostage for four years by Islamic extremists in Mali arrived Friday in France — and says she wants to return to her aid work with malnourished children in Africa despite the ordeal.



In this photo provided by the Mali Presidency, French ex-hostage Sophie Petronin is seen at the presidential palace after being released and flown to the capital Bamako, Mali, late Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020. A prominent Malian politician and three European hostages freed by Islamic extremists in northern Mali this week landed in the country's capital late Thursday where they held emotional reunions with family members and were greeted by government officials. (Mali Presidency via AP)


© Provided by Associated Press
In this photo provided by the Mali Presidency, French ex-hostage Sophie Petronin is seen at the presidential palace after being released and flown to the capital Bamako, Mali, late Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020. A prominent Malian politician and three European hostages freed by Islamic extremists in northern Mali this week landed in the country’s capital late Thursday where they held emotional reunions with family members and were greeted by government officials. (Mali Presidency via AP)



In this photo provided by the Mali Presidency, French ex-hostage Sophie Petronin, center right, who had spent nearly four years in captivity, meets with transitional president Col. Maj. Bah N'Daw, center left, at the presidential palace after being released and flown to the capital Bamako, Mali, late Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020. A prominent Malian politician and three European hostages freed by Islamic extremists in northern Mali this week landed in the country's capital late Thursday where they held emotional reunions with family members and were greeted by government officials. (Mali Presidency via AP)


© Provided by Associated Press
In this photo provided by the Mali Presidency, French ex-hostage Sophie Petronin, center right, who had spent nearly four years in captivity, meets

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Continue Reading French hostage freed in Mali arrives home in France to hugs