The Swiss Government has confirmed that the body of evangelical missionary Béatrice Stöckli has been found and identified and will be repatriated as soon as possible.
The Malian authorities provided a forensic sample which was sent to the Institute of Forensic Medicine at the University of Zurich. The results of the DNA test confirmed that the body was that of the Christian woman.
Stöckli had initially been held hostage in 2012 but was released ten days later with the help of mediators from Burkina Faso. She was then abducted again in 2016 by Jihadist group Jama'at Nusrat Al-Islam wa'l-Muslimin (JNIM) while in Mali teaching children how to read and write using passages of the Koran that reference Jesus.
In a statement, the Swiss Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis said: "Sadly, we now have definitive evidence that the woman who was held hostage is dead.
"But I am also relieved that we can return the woman's remains to her family and I would like to pass on my deepest condolences to them. I also wish to thank the Malian authorities for their assistance in helping to identify the body."
Last October, the Swiss government said that the evangelical missionary had been killed after a French charity worker, who had also been held hostage in 2016 but was released in 2020, provided inside information.
Sophie Petronin, 75, said that Stöckli had been shot dead about a month before her release, after she refused to cooperate with her kidnappers who were travelling through the Sahara in order to avoid the authorities.
The Swiss government has said it will continue to work with the Malian authorities to clarify the circumstances of Stöckli’s death.