A Swiss missionary who was kidnapped in January 2016 has been killed by Islamist extremists.
The woman, Beatrice Stöckli, was “apparently killed by kidnappers of the Islamist terrorist organization Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslim (JNIM) about a month ago,” according to the Swiss Foreign Ministry.
Christianity Today reports that Beatrice was killed just weeks before other hostages were freed, including Sophie Petronin, a 75-year-old French aid worker.
It’s unclear how Beatrice was killed.
“It was with great sadness that I learned of the death of our fellow citizen,” said Swiss Federal Councilor Ignazio Cassis. “I condemn this cruel act and express my deepest sympathy to the relatives.”
Swiss officials said they “worked over the past four years, together with the relevant Malian authorities and with international partners, to ensure that the Swiss citizen was released and can return to her family. Members of the Federal Council have personally and repeatedly lobbied the relevant Malian authorities for her release. An interdepartmental task force under the leadership of the Foreign Affairs Ministry was deployed. The task force also included representatives of … [the police, the intelligence services] … and the Federal Prosecutor’s Office. In addition, the authorities were in constant contact with the victim’s family.”
Beatrice was a missionary who settled in Timbuktu, Mali in 2000 and worked for a Swiss church and also served with Germany-based missionary group Neues Leben Ghana (New Life Ghana).
She was single and sold flowers and distributed Christian materials.
In January 2016, armed men kidnapped her from her home.
The 2016 kidnapping was the second time she had been kidnapped by Islamist groups. Previously in 2012, she was taken from northern Mali and released 10 days later. She returned home to Switzerland, but later traveled back to live in Mali.
“It’s Timbuktu or nothing,” she told friends and family.
The group responsible for her kidnapping also released videos with Beatrice. In one, a masked speaker says she was a “Swiss nun who declared war against Islam in her attempt to Christianize Muslims.” In another, a woman identified as Beatrice but masked by a veil thanks the Swiss government “for all the efforts they have made.”
Photo courtesy: Tabea Shmooeli Facebook
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.