Gunmen have abducted a German cleric in Mali‘s capital, reports said Monday, marking the first kidnapping of a caucasian in Bamako in more than a decade.
It was gathered that The Rev. Hans-Joachim Lohre was preparing to go celebrate Mass in another part of the city on Sunday when his assailants ambushed him near an Institute of Islamic-Christian Training and whisked him away
Later, a neighbor claimed to have spotted a black automobile with no licence plates parked in the institute’s courtyard. After the cleric was kidnapped, the automobile was no longer there. Later, she added, investigators discovered the priest’s broken cross necklace near to his car.
“The door of his car was open and there were footprints on the ground as though someone had been fighting,” Pare added.
The German cleric, who has spent more than 30 years in Mali and instructs at the Institute of Islamic-Christian Training, was abducted, but no one has yet claimed responsibility. However, due to their track record of kidnapping foreigners and holding them for ransom, suspicion fell quickly on insurgents who have been perpetrating attacks in the nation in recent months.
But since the start of their insurgency more than ten years ago, Lohre’s kidnapping would be the first time that terrorists have taken a foreign hostage in the nation’s capital of Bamako. Other foreign religious leaders have been kidnapped, but they were taken in more distant areas of the nation.
Along with their young son and domestic worker, an Italian missionary couple and their family were kidnapped in southern Mali in May.
About 27 kilometres away from where the Italian family was taken hostage, in Karangasso in 2017, militants with ties to al-Qaida kidnapped a Colombian nun. In 2021, Sister Gloria Cecilia Narvaez was freed after more than four years of detention.
Later, a cardinal testified that Pope Francis had given the go-ahead to spend up to €1,000,000 to set her free. It is unknown how much, if any, money from the Vatican actually found its way into the hands of the radicals. Rarely are ransom payments confirmed to deter future kidnappings.
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