In October last year, it was announced that the Swiss woman kidnapped by the jihadist group Jama'at Nusrat Al-Islam wa'l-Muslimin (JNIM) had been killed. The Swiss authorities subsequently made every effort to find out more about the circumstances of the killing and the whereabouts of the woman's body. A few days ago, the Malian authorities informed Switzerland that the remains of a person, presumed to be the Swiss hostage, had been handed over to them, and that they had issued instructions for DNA to be extracted. The DNA samples were then sent to Switzerland for further investigation via the Swiss representation in Bamako. The Institute of Forensic Medicine at the University of Zurich has now confirmed that the DNA matches that of the Swiss hostage.
"Sadly, we now have definitive evidence that the woman who was held hostage is dead", said Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis. "But I am also relieved that we can return the woman's remains to her family and I would like to pass on my deepest condolences to them. I also wish to thank the Malian authorities for their assistance in helping to identify the body."
Repatriation of remains to Switzerland
The woman's body will be repatriated to Switzerland once it is released by the Malian authorities and will be returned to the woman's family. For data protection reasons and in view of the pending criminal proceedings, the FDFA is unable to provide any further details.
Interdepartemental task force continues its work
In the last few months, the Swiss authorities have been calling constantly for the Malian authorities to hand over the body and clarify the circumstances of the woman's death. Mr Cassis also discussed the killing of the hostage with high government officials during his visit to Mali in February 2021. An interdepartmental task force continues to work on this case and is in regular contact with the family and the Malian authorities. The task force comprises representatives from the FDFA, the Federal Office of Police (fedpol), the Federal Intelligence Service (FIS) and the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland.
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