by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) -
A Swiss missionary was executed by Islamic extremists in Timbuktu, Mali last month, Christianity Today reports. Beatrice Stöckli was kidnapped in January 2016 by an Islamist terrorist organization connected to Al-Qaeda.
Stöckli had originally gone to Timbuktu in 2000, when she worked as a missionary for a Swiss church, Christianity Today reports. However, she subsequently branched out on her own and was unaffiliated with any missions organization at the time of her death. She had settled and shared the Gospel in Abaradjou, a district known to have been frequented by Jihadist terrorist groups. On 15 April 2012, Stöckli was kidnapped by a private militia, but was released on 24 April.
Following the first kidnapping, the Swiss government asked Stöckli not to return to Mali: some 300 missionaries had fled because of the killings, abductions, and rape carried out by Islamic extremists there.
However, Stöckli refused to be deterred and she returned to preach the Gospel.
In January 2016, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) released a video confirming Stöckli had been captured: “Beatrice Stöckli is a Swiss nun (sic) who declared war against Islam in her attempt to Christianise Muslims,” a masked man with a British accent said.
The kidnappers demanded the release of AQIM fighters imprisoned in Mali, and of the group’s leaders detained at the International Criminal Court at The Hague. The speaker said the most important condition was that Stöckli did not go to any Muslim country and preach the Gospel. However, Switzerland reportedly demanded her release without conditions. The details of Stöckli’s murder are not yet clear and inquiries are reportedly underway, Christianity Today said.
Mali ranks 29 on the 2020 Open Doors International World Watch List of countries known for persecuting Christians.