Sophie Pétronin: “Yes, I am in Mali. I am at home here”

the essential The former French hostage Sophie Pétronin spoke after her return to Mali where she had been kidnapped and detained for 4 years of 2016 to 2020 by jihadists.

Sophie Pétronin, the former French hostage in Mali, discreetly returned to her country of heart for a few months, spoke for the first time since the announcement of her return to Africa, Tuesday, November 2.

She defended herself on Wednesday with AFP for having acted “irresponsibly” by returning to Mali. “Why irresponsible? I am at home here”, said Sophie Pétronin on the phone to an AFP correspondent, thus responding to the French government which, this Wednesday, November 3, through its spokesperson Gabriel Attal, had mentioned “a form of irresponsibility vis-à-vis its security and the security of our soldiers”.

“Yes, I have been in Mali for a while. But I am not worried and I am not worried. I am doing well. And I am happy to be where I am. ‘annoys. I don’t know if I’m wanted and why, “she said, wishing her loved ones were left alone. She would be in the suburbs of Bamako, according to information from an AFP correspondent.

An adopted girl in Mali

The Malian authorities, for their part, did not respond to questions from AFP, which asked them if Sophie Pétronin was actively sought and if she could be returned to the border in the event of an arrest. At the end of last week, the direction of the Malian gendarmerie had instructed all the units to “actively seek” the Frenchwoman.

Sophie Pétronin, 76 years old, was kidnapped in December 2016 in Gao. In October 2020, without real consultation with Paris, the new Malian regime decided to release several dozen prisoners arrested during anti-jihadist operations, against four hostages, including the French Sophie Pétronin. She had been greeted when she got off the plane in Villacoublay by Emmanuel Macron. But Sophie Pétronin, who adopted a girl in Mali, had expressed, as soon as she was released, her intention to return there.

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