“Their separation caused great psychological and mental hardship to my sister, because they had shared four years of friendship. They got on very well together and were very good friends,” he said.
Edgar Narváez told the Pontifical charity that the two women had spent most of their time together in the jihadists’ camp.
He narrated, “They were together for four years, they lived together, ate together, slept in the same tent. They were guarded, but enjoyed a degree of freedom. Up to a point, they were able to go outside and count the stars, the pebbles and the animals passing by, in order to kill time, because they had nothing else to do. They were given breakfast, lunch and tea; there were medicines and a doctor, and they were treated well because they were women, and on account of my sister’s religious habit they showed her great respect.”
ACN leadership reported in February that after her release, Sophie Prétonin reportedly spoke about Sr. Gloria's depressing situation. According to the Catholic charity, the French doctor learned that she would be released in the early hours of 5 October 2020.
One of the two jihadists guarding the hostages told Prétonin, “Take your things, you're leaving”, ACN leadership says in the February 11 report shared with ACI Africa.
(Story continues below)
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Sr. Gloria, who was possibly next after the French doctor reportedly asked, “And me?”, to which the Jihadist replied, “You stay for later!”
Pétronin has appealed for help in rescuing Sr. Gloria saying, “Something must be done for my roommate, Gloria, because she is not well.”
Following the release of Sophie Petronin, jihadists are said to have transferred Sr. Gloria to the group mentioned in her latest letter, the GSIM, in a place that Edgar Narváez says is “still more remote.”
He says that little by little her sister recovered mentally, and now she is well again.
“She is exhausted physically, very thin, her face burnt brown by the sun and by the climate in the Mali region, but thanks be to God she is well. She is very strong,” he says.
Edgar Narváez tells the charity foundation that an international mission headed by Colombia, which had travelled to Africa with the aim of securing Sr. Gloria’s release, was suspended in June.
He says, in reference to the failed military operation, “They went out in March and came back three months later, although the intention had been to remain until August 2021.”
ACN reports that the rescue mission was suspended due to the worsening situation amid the coup in Mali.
However, Edgar Narváez admitted to ACN that he is “a little saddened and disconcerted” by the news, because “the Colombian group that went to find her has returned, and my sister is still alone… Although we hope they can return to Mali soon.”
He says securing the release of her sister is what he wants more than anything else in the world, and adds, “That is what we all want. That is what my mother longed for; to see her free and to die in peace. But it was not to be.”
Before she was kidnapped, Sr. Gloria had accomplished 12 years of mission in Africa, including her apostolate in Benin and in Mali.
Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.