British jihadist claims responsibility for abducting Swiss missionary
A jihadist with a British accent and affiliated with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has claimed responsibility for abducting a Swiss missionary in Mali in January, it has emerged.
Beatrice Stockly, believed to be in her mid-50s, was kidnapped on January 7 when armed men burst through the front door of her home in Timbuktu.
In an eight-minute video released by AQIM, one jihadist speaking with a British accent said: “We, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, declare our responsibility for the kidnapping of this Christianizing kaffir Beatrice Stöckly, who by her work drove out many from the fold of Islam by seducing them with crumbs of this worldly life.”
The Swiss missionary appeared at the end of the video wearing a black hijab.
The group further demanded the release of fighters imprisoned in Mali and one captured in Niger in exchange for the kidnapped woman’s release.
Switzerland’s Foreign Ministry told Fox News it has called for Stockli’s “unconditional release,” adding it has been in contact with her family and Malian authorities since the kidnapping.
This is the second time Stockly has been kidnapped by the jihadist group, according to the Times.
A new report, published on Wednesday, claims the Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda, Al-Nusra Front, is a greater threat to Syria and the West than Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).
The report, which was jointly published by the Institute for the Study of War and the American Enterprise Institute, states that Al-Nusra Front poses “one of the most significant long-term threats” of any jihadist group.
“This Al-Qaeda affiliate has established an expansive network of partnerships with local opposition groups that have grown either dependent on or fiercely loyal to the organization,” the report states.