Mali hostages in video appeal for negotiated release

Bamako - A video of two hostages, a Malian judge and a soldier kidnapped by armed men, was released on Tuesday in which they asked the government to free jihadists and impose sharia to secure their release.

District judge Soungalo Kone and soldier Mamadou Diawara - who both had short white beards and wore turbans - spoke for six minutes without men, neither mentioning the name of their captors.

"I am judge Soungalo Kone, kidnapped in Niono," said the president of the Niono district court, who then recited some verses from the Koran.

Kone said he would be freed if Bamako released imprisoned jihadists and applied sharia law across the country.

Kone was abducted in November by armed men from his house in Niono, 340km north east of the capital Bamako, according to a local police source.

Diawara was captured during an ambush on the military and also spoke in the video, saying they were being "well treated".

Attacks on figures of state authority are common in northern and central Mali, where a jihadist insurgency and the near absence of government functions have fuelled lawlessness.

One of Mali's most senior judges, High Court Chief Justice Abdrahamane Niang, narrowly avoided death when his convoy was ambushed in Mopti, central Mali, on October 31.

Jihadists were accused of killing his driver, while five soldiers dispatched to the scene died when their vehicle triggered a mine explosion.

Mali's current instability is linked to the fall of northern cities in 2012 to Al-Qaeda-linked jihadists, who were routed by a French military intervention in 2013.

Although the jihadists no longer control cities, they have continued to mount attacks and aggravate tensions within communities.

The country's north and central regions are meanwhile awash with weapons that flowed into Mali from Libya after the fall of Moammar Gaddafi in 2011.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Zama zama crackdown: What are your thoughts on West Village residents taking the law into their own hands?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Authorities should bring in the army already
11% - 2261 votes
Illegal miners can't be scapegoated for all crime
48% - 9913 votes
What else did we expect without no proper policing
37% - 7558 votes
Vigilante groups are also part of the problem
4% - 750 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.