France, Mali begin search for abducted French aid worker
France and Mali authorities have started search operations for a French aid worker abducted by militants in the West African country.
According to reports, the French Foreign Ministry confirmed on Sunday that Sophie Petronin, a Frenchwoman who runs an organization for malnourished children in Mali, had been kidnapped in Mali's restive north a day earlier, adding that a joint search operation had been launched to find the aid worker.
The ministry said that authorities from France and Malian were working together “to find and free our compatriot as quickly as possible.” It added that the family of Petronin has been contacted by the ministry.
Other sources said French military forces were also contributing to the search operation.
“French soldiers of the Barkhane force (in Mali) are actively taking part in the search alongside the Malians,” a military source said in France without elaborating.
As the director of a non-governmental organization in the Malian city of Gao, Petronin has been helping children suffering from malnutrition in Mali for a long time.