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Franciscan sister, held captive in Mali, sends letter to her family

Somaliland, Africa

For the last four years, the Franciscan religious sister has been held captive by Islamist terrorists.


Franciscan religious sister Gloria Narváez Argoti, age 57, who was abducted in 2017 in Karangasso, Mali, has sent a message, via Red Cross International, to her brother Edgar Narváez Argoti. The note, 11 lines long, was shown to Aid to the Church in Need. It is dated Feb. 3, 2021. The family received the letter in May.

“I send everyone my warmest greetings. May the good Lord bless them and grant them health. I have been held prisoner for four years, and now I am with a new group,” she writes. Sister Gloria identifies the terrorist group currently holding her hostage as the GSIM (Groupe de Soutien à l’islam et aux Musulmans), the Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims.

According to all indications, this is a group belonging to a jihadist alliance in the Sahel, with links to Al Qaeda. In her letter, Sister Gloria asks the prayers of everyone, that she may gain her longed-for freedom. “May they all pray a great deal for me. May God bless them all. I am hopeful that God will help me to regain my freedom. Your loving sister, Gloria.”

The note is addressed to her brother, Narváez, a schoolteacher in the town of Pasto, in Colombia, where she was born. Speaking to ACN from Colombia, her brother recalled that in his first note to his sister he had informed her that their mother, Rosita Argoti de Narváez, had died in September 2020 at the age of 87, “unable to endure the sadness and despair any longer.” His sister had replied months later: “She sent greetings to the family, said she was in good health and asked for an appeal to be made to the authorities here in Colombia to take measures to enable her to be released and return to Colombia.”

Speaking about the state of health of his sister, based on the most recent information he had been able to get through the Red Cross, Narváez told ACN that his sister is well, although the freeing in October last year of her fellow hostage, the French doctor Sophie Petronin, with whom she had shared her captivity, had affected her greatly.

“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.

Source: Aid to the Church in Need

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