JNIM releases proof-of-life video for French hostage

Sophie Petronin as seen in today’s JNIM video. 

Al Qaeda’s Group for Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) released a short video today showing one of its hostages, Sophie Petronin, for the first time in nearly eight months. The video was released by its Al Ezza Productions arm, which appears to be dedicated to producing videos of its foreign hostages.

The short video, entitled “S.O.S, Save Old Sophie,” was a quick proof-of-life view of Petronin. Inside a makeshift structure, an improvised IV infusion bag can be seen while Sophie is shown laying on the ground. The video made it clear that her health is deteriorating, an obvious ploy to get France – or third-party negotiators – to act more quickly to secure her release. It was also dated for today, meaning that the video was likely shot recently.

Petronin was kidnapped from the northern Malian city of Gao on Dec. 24, 2016. She lived there for several years as part of a humanitarian mission prior to her abduction. She was reportedly kidnapped by Arab members of al Qaeda’s Al Murabitoon, which is now within the JNIM conglomerate. She was last seen in a video released in July 2017 in which an English-speaking JNIM member accused her of “using her humanitarian work as a cover for converting Muslims of Mali to the corrupt French beliefs.”

In January, a similar video was released for the Colombian Gloria Cecilia Narvaez. Narvaez was kidnapped last year in the southern Malian region of Sikasso. In the video, she plead to Pope Francis to aid in her release. The video also included a section detailing that her family should also work through the Gift of the Givers charity, as it has helped appropriate ransoms for the release of hostages in the past.

Caleb Weiss is a contributor to FDD's Long War Journal and a senior analyst at the Bridgeway Foundation, where he focuses on the spread of the Islamic State in Central Africa.

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  • Dennis says:

    Please…comment on reports of Russian contractors killed recently in U.S. airstrikes.

  • Ken says:

    This just provides more convincing proof that we are dealing with monsters. Our resolve to not only defeat them but to crush them should not weaken.


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