A Colombian nun has been kidnapped by gunmen in southern Mali, a Malian security source and a local official said to arabnews.com .
The woman was kidnapped late Tuesday near Koutiala, a city some 400-kilometer (250-mile) east of the capital, Bamako, which is in the Sikasso region near the Burkina Faso border.
“The Malian army is in pursuit,” a security source who asked not to be identified told AFP.
A local official said the kidnappers drove away in a vehicle owned by the nun’s Franciscan order.
The kidnapped woman was one of four living in the village of Karangasso, according to a worker at her church speaking to AFP by phone.
Edmond Dembele, the secretary-general of the Episcopal Conference of Mali, said bishops were seeking further information about the kidnap, which took place around midnight on Tuesday, he told the Catholic missions press agency Fides.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the kidnapping which follows the Christmas Eve capture of a French aid worker, Sophie Petronin, in the restive north of Mali.
A Burkinabe security source told AFP “the kidnappers headed back in the direction of Burkina Faso” after the nun was taken.
Attacks on Mali’s south by militants have become increasingly common, a threat that was once confined to the north.
Last month, Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in North Africa released a new proof-of-life video of Swiss missionary Beatrice Stockly, who has been held hostage by the group for more than a year.
The north fell under the control of Tuareg-led rebels and militant groups linked to Al-Qaeda in 2012 who were largely ousted by a French-led military operation in January 2013. But the implementation of a peace accord struck in 2015 has been piecemeal with insurgents still active across large parts of the nation.