Concern over the abduction of five Christians in central Mali

·1-min read

Local authorities in central Mali have confirmed that five Christians, traveling between Mopti and Ségou, have not reached their destination.

Abbot Léon Dougnon and four priests were on their way to a funeral for a colleague. They left Mopti on Monday morning, but they never arrived in San, in the region of Ségou.

Since Monday, Dougnon's mobile phone has been answered by an unknown individual.

The alarm was raised by Kizito Togo, a Catholic priest at Mopti cathedral.

The region where the five are missing is known to be a stronghold of the Katiba Macina jihadist group, but no claim of responsibility for the abduction has yet been issued.

While Mali has been the scene of several terrorist attacks and kidnappings, and is currently in the aftermath of the second military coup in less than 12 months, violence against members of the Christian community is rare.

Several churches in the extreme north were destroyed by jihadists in 2012, at the height of the insurgency by members of the Al Qaida in the Islamic Magreb organisation.

The Colombian Catholic nun, Sr. Gloria Argoti, was kidnapped by a separate jihadist group in 2017.

And dozens of Catholic residents lost their lives last year in the attack on the Dogon village of Sobane Da.

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