A Catholic missionary who was abducted in Niger a year and a half ago is thought to be alive after appearing in a video released by his captors.
Father Pierluigi Maccalli was kidnapped in April 2018 while working to encourage education, healthcare and young farmers in the country's southern region. His captors have still yet to give a reason for the abduction and have not made any ransom demands.
Speaking to Aid to the Church in Need, Maccalli's brother, Father Walter Maccalli, rejoiced at seeing his brother alive:
“It’s great news, and we are delighted and hopeful that everything may turn out well," he said.
Maccalli added: "I never expected to get news of this kind about my brother… [as] a great deal of time has passed without knowing anything.
“We will now have to wait to see how things turn out.
“Let us continue to pray and hope that we may finally even be able to meet in person and truly live that joy that we have been hoping for for such a long, long time.”
The 24-second video is date stamped 24th March 2020.
According to a report in Aïr Info, Father Pierluigi Maccalli and Italian tourist Nicola Ciacco are being held by Jama’a Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin, a Malian Salafist extremist group founded in March 2017.