In an eight minute video released by Al-Qaida in Africa, Swiss missionary Stockly was seen clad in a black hijab, a masked man claimed responsibility for her kidnap.
“Beatrice Stockly is a Swiss nun who declared war against Islam in her attempt to Christianise Muslims,” the speaker said.
Al-Qaida has demanded the release of their fighters held in Mali and leaders detained at the International Criminal Court at The Hague. Switzerland has emphasized upon Stockly’s unconditional release.
Stockly was taken from her home in Timbuktu by armed gunmen on 7 January. It was the second time she had been kidnapped by Islamists. The most important condition of her release, the speaker in the video said, was that she did not return to any Muslim land preaching Christianity. The Swiss government had warned her not to return to Mali after her release in 2012.
A local church leader, who claimed to have previously worked with Stockly, told World Watch Monitor the missionary settled in Timbuktu in 2000, working for a Swiss church, before starting work alone, unaffiliated with any church.
He said Stockly is in her forties and leads an austere life, selling flowers and handing out Christian material.
She was described as sociable, particularly among women and children.
Her home is in Abaradjou, a popular district of Timbuktu frequented by armed jihadist groups. She was taken from that same residence in April 2012, when northern Mali was occupied by armed Islamist groups. She was released 10 days later, following mediation led by neighbouring Burkina Faso.
AQIM had previously attacked Ouagadougou, the capital of neighbouring Burkina Faso and killed 29, kidnapping an Australian missionary couple. Jocelyn Eliot, the wife was released a few week back but the husband, who is also the surgeon in the hospital set up by the couple, remains in captivity.