Four hostages released
Prominent Malian politician Soumaila Cisse and three European hostages freed by alQaida- linked Islamic extremists made it to the Malian capital yesterday where they were greeted by family members and supporters. French humanitarian Sophie Petronin, who had been abducted nearly four years ago while helping orphans in northern Mali, was embraced by her son on the tarmac. Two Italian hostages, Father Pierluigi Maccalli and Nicola Chiacchio, kidnapped in Africa between 2018 and 2019, were also released. Maccalli is a Roman Catholic missionary priest from the African Missionary Society ( SMA) who was kidnapped from his Bomoanga parish in Niamey, Niger, according to the Avvenire newspaper of the Italian bishops conference. Chiacchio was taken from central Mali in 2019.