At least five Western hostages are still being held captive in the Sahel. Among them the Colombian Gloria Cecilia Argoti, with whom Sophie Pétronin spent most of her captivity, or the Australian Arthur Kenneth Elliot. Back in France, the former French hostage was able to provide news about the health of some other hostages.
Gloria Cecilia Argoti, was Sophie Pétronin’s “roommate”. It is in these terms that the former French hostage describes her comrade in captivity, with whom she shared almost all of her detention. The two hostages will be reunited in February 2017. For Sophie Pétronin, who was kidnapped on December 24, 2016, it has already been two months in the hands of the support group for Islam and Muslims. For Gloria, this is only the beginning of the trial. Kidnapped in southern Mali and then transported to the far north, she will never be separated from Sophie Pétronin.
Brinquebalées in more than thirty different camps, Tells Sophie Pétronin that they shared everything. The food, the blankets, the cold water and the long days of waiting to tell. Sister Gloria tells her especially about the day of the kidnapping and how she volunteered when the gunmen wanted to take one of the nuns. “I was the oldest, it was normal,” she tells Sophie Pétronin.
The kidnappers have never shown violence against the hostages, the former hostages assure. Except once when Gloria Cecilia gets lost on a trip around the camp. She will spend three days tied up in the cabin before Sophie manages to convince the prisons to remove the shackles.
The last time they saw each other was last Monday, the day Sophie Pétronin traveled to her last transfer when she was released. Button arrival at Villacoublay in France, his first words to the French president were to draw attention to his roommate. “Her mind is receding,” she told Emmanuel Macron. We have to do everything to get it from there ”.
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Sophie Pétronin also crossed paths with Australian hostage Arthur Kenneth Elliot. She spent a little more than two months with the latter, at the beginning of his captivity, “the day after my kidnapping,” even stating the former French hostage. Of his weeks used with the Australian surgeon, now 86 years old, she remembers long walks in the sand around the camp. An unchanging ritual every day at No guard to see them, yet “we were lost more than 20 kilometers from the first well,” says Sophie Pétronin. No way to escape, it was not Dr. at all. Elliot’s intention.
Sophie Pétronin describes him as calm, healthy and relatively healthy despite her age. Between them, he talks about everything and nothing about their humanitarian activities. She in Gao with malnourished children, he in Burkina Faso, where he worked with his wife in a clinic in Djibo in the province of Soum. His wife Jocelyne Elliot had been kidnapped with him but released by her captives a month later.
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