Armed Islamist extremists kidnapped Sophie Pétronin in the city of Gao in December 2016. Pétronin, now 75, was running a charity for children suffering from malnutrition.
France’s President Emmanuel Macron was “immensely relieved” to learn of Pétronin’s release, according to a statement issued by the French government.
“The President of the Republic especially thanks the Malian authorities for this release,” the statement said. “He assures them of France’s entire will to support Mali in the fight it is waging with perseverance against terrorism.”
“I expect to find someone sick, very weak. I hope she can still see, I don’t think she can stand,” he said. “No matter what state she is in, I know she is still lucid. I am looking forward to seeing her again.”