In focus: the release of hostages in Mali

“The good news finally fell yesterday”, poster in large letters on the front of L’Indépendant, the Malian daily. “Soumaïla Cissé and other Western hostages, including the French Sophie Petronin, are free,” we read.

“It is now confirmed and official,” the article insists. “After more than six months in captivity or more than 190 days, the leader of the opposition was released yesterday, Thursday 8 October.” He was in the company of 3 other hostages, the French humanitarian therefore and two Italian citizens. And “it was around noon. 19, that the military plane that took them to Bamako left the asphalt at the Tessalit airfield in the Kidal region, ”the newspaper describes. “From a reliable source,” he said, “all hostages are in good health, though they should remain under surveillance for a few days.”

Message from the Malian Presidency

The page is back he also on this release and on the announcement last night of the accounts of the presidency of Mali on social networks. Maliweb then recalls that during his kidnapping of Soumaïla Cissé, in March last year in the circle of Niafunké, “his bodyguard was dead”, and that “the last sign of Soumaïla Cissé’s life dates back to August last year, when a letter written by him had reached his family through the International Committee of the Red Cross ”.

In another article, the site then forwards the response from Internet users. A release that “is a great relief to the Malian people”, one of them confirms before adding: “We must also welcome the release of Sophie Pétronin, a unique woman committed to leading the most vulnerable in Mali “.

Pictures of the reunion, it puts pictures on the words. The site offers one a reunion video, when the plane went off the tarmac at the airport. The title promises emotion, and in fact we first see Sébastien Petronin hugging his mother. He shouts “Mom, mom,” his voice full of tears. Tears of joy probably one can imagine anyway. We then see Soumaïla Cissé get off the plane again. Cheche on the head and anti-covid mask on the nose, yet he finds his wife, whom he also hugs in his arms.

Malijet also publishes photos of the arrival of, now, ex-hostages at Koulouba Palace. “They were received by Head of State Sem Bah N’daw in the presence of Vice President Colonel Assimi Goita and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane.” Last pictures to finally see on Malijet, “Soumaïla Cissé’s triumphant arrival” to her home in the capital, Badalabougou district. Many supporters came to the place to welcome him …

A hectic week

L’Indépendant also looks back on this week full of twists and behind the scenes of this issue. He first reminds us that “it has been a few days since the news of the liberation was announced”. And he regrets: “Some have even rushed to confirm it and added the confusion a little more”. The article explains, at least in part, what may be due to this zeal, because “the beginning of this message” is the release “of about two hundred prisoners who were to serve as bargaining chips. Much of it came from the Iyad Ag Ghali Support Group for Islam and Muslims. ”And L’Indépendant understands that the operation to release the hostages” was delayed by the fact that some detainees, including GSIM, demanded release. “

The eye of the West African press

This file is of course followed by part of the West African press, especially Burkina Fasos.The country quotes here from Woody Allen for inspiration: “” Eternity is long, especially towards the end. “So one could say about the endless wait for the release of Soumaïla Cissé and Sophie Pétronin,” writes Le Pays. Liberation “which gave rise to an unusual media frenzy in which fake news competed with all kinds of speculation.” In any case , says Le Pays, the transitional authorities have “succeeded in a master battle in which the previous regime had tried without success.”

“The immediate political gain is the increase in their sympathy with the peoples,” the article analyzes before qualifying. “These waves of joy hardly mask the fact that this release, of which we still do not know all the details, was expensively paid for. Hundreds of terrorists have been released into the wild. It can be expected that these fanatics will once again revive themselves at the deepest sources of radicalism in order to return to sowing with all the wind, death and desolation in the entire sub-area, ”fears Le Pays.

What next for Soumaïla Cissé?

The country then wonders about the future of Soumaila Cissé, like their counterparts from today in Faso elsewhere. Both essentially believe that the president of the URD could “ride on this wave of popularity to go and conquer the Koulouba Palace”. Today in Faso recalls that the opponent has already come “second time three times in the presidential election” and that his release “was linked to the demands of the motley coalition of the June 5 movement, spearhead for dispute that led to the coup it August 18 ”.

“We know,” the website continues, “man could have played a major role in this transition opening up on the banks of the Djoliba. But now he will have to patiently endure his pain and hope for a good and peaceful transition process, that will pave the way for elections where he can benefit from the confidence of his countrymen at the ballot box. “At least that’s what the Burkinabè press thinks, we’ll see what the future tells us.


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