A Colombian missionary nun, kidnapped in Mali more than six weeks ago is still missing. Sister Gloria Cecilia Narváez Argoti, was abducted by a group of armed men by armed men who broke into the church in Sikasso in southern Mali where she was working in the morning on 9 February. No groups have claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.
Emergenciy food and medicine is being sent to hundreds of stricken families in Mali who have fled their homes to escape the fighting. Young children are already reported to be suffering from malnutrition. A grant, totalling £34,000 was announced by Aid to the Church in Need on Friday, is being administered by Mopti Catholic diocese, southern Mali, a region where thousands of people have been displaced by war in the land-locked west Saharan country.
A missionary priest in Mali ministering to displaced people has described their desperate struggle to flee fighting and Islamist extremism as violence intensifies in key parts of the country. In a message sent over the weekend to Aid to the Church in Need, Fr Zacharie Sorgho described the events that led to the liberation of the strategically important town of Diabaly on Thursday (18 January). Fr Sorgho, whose parish of Nioro du Sahel in north-west Mali has welcomed people fleeing the conflict, said:
Nigerian girls are being forced to work as prostitutes in Mali, a government agency has admitted. The girls, many of them underage, are often promised jobs in Europe but end up in brothels, said the government's anti-trafficking agency. The brothels are run by older Nigerian women who prevent them from leaving and take all their earnings.