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30 Dec, 2017 19:14

‘Government made no progress’: Son of 72yo French aid worker held hostage by al-Qaeda to RT (VIDEO)

The son of a kidnapped 72-year-old French aid worker in Mali has told RT that his government has failed to make any progress in securing his mother's release despite assurances by President Emmanuel Macron six months ago.

Sophie Petronin was abducted by armed men in the town of Gao on Christmas eve in 2016. The elderly woman was running a non-governmental organization for malnourished children and orphans. Petronin is said to be the only French captive in the world, Le Monde reports. Her family had not heard of her until Nusrat Al-Islam, a Malian wing of Al Qaeda, released proof of her being alive via video in July, showing Petronin along with five other foreigners. The captors reportedly accused the woman of “religious proselytism.”

Its release coincided with the arrival of Macron to the Malian capital Bamako for a security summit. “Be assured, that all the resources of the state are being mobilized to find [Sophie Petronin] and bring her back to family,” Macron declared, adding that he would “not give in to any provocation because that is precisely what our attackers want.”

Since then, however, the Petronin family has had “no news, nothing concrete,” Sophie’s son, Sebastien Chadaud-Petronin told RT France. The man is now searching for any information in order to keep the French investigation into his mother's abduction active.

While the foreign ministry is providing support to his family, “the one who really needs [it] is my mother,” Chadaud-Petronin says. “Our family has been disappointed by the government’s failure to make any decisions on this case.”

“It must be admitted that so far, no progress has been made in tackling this matter more closely,” he said, referring the perceived reluctance of the French authorities to pursue its probe. “We need to ask Mr. Macron, he has the power, he can decide on a course of action.”