Mali releases 180 jihadists in exchange for kidnapped politician
London, Oct. 5, 2020 (AltAfrica)-180 jihadists from the Islamic extremists have been released by Malian authorities from a prison in the capital and flown to the country’s north, an official confirmed late Sunday
Associated Press reports that the action fuels speculation that a prominent opposition politician, Soumaila Cisse held by jihadists could soon be freed after more than six months in captivity.
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The militants who abducted Soumaila Cisse back in late March were believed to be seeking a prisoner exchange with the Malian government. Some 70 men were released on Saturday and another 110 on Sunday, according to an official who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.
Cisse, a 70-year-old who has run for Mali’s presidency three times, was campaigning ahead of legislative elections not far from Timbuktu at the time of his abduction.
His bodyguard was killed in the attack, and the only proof of life has been a handwritten letter delivered back in August.