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American Nun, 83, Abducted by Jihadists in Sahel is Free


FILE - Nuns attend the Last Supper Mass in a cathedral in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, April 9, 2020. An American nun, who was abducted by jihadists in northern Burkina Faso in April 2022, has been released.

An 83-year-old American nun who was abducted by jihadists in northern Burkina Faso in April has been released, the Catholic Church said.

Sister Suellen Tennyson, a nun with the Congregation of Marianites of the Holy Cross, had been kidnapped in the parish of Yalgo, where she had worked since 2014.

In a statement, the bishop of the diocese of Kaya, Theophile Nare, announced "to all, that with great joy and gratitude to God," Tennyson "has been released by her kidnappers."

She is "currently in a safe place … [and] in good health," Nare said, in the statement that reached AFP on Wednesday, adding that he had no details about the conditions of her release but was "deeply grateful to all those who worked for it."

In Washington, a U.S. State Department spokesman confirmed "the release of a U.S. citizen in Niger who had been held hostage in West Africa."

The spokesman did not identify the individual, but Tennyson was the only known American hostage in the region.

"This individual will soon be reunited with loved ones. It is the wish of the individual to remain private at this time, and we ask that all respect that wish," the spokesman said.

Yalgo lies between the towns of Kaya and Dori, in the heart of a region of northern Burkina Faso that, like neighboring Niger, has been plagued by jihadists linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group.

Thousands of people have died and nearly 2 million people have fled their homes in the 7-year-old insurgency.

In April 2021, three Europeans who had been reported missing after an attack in eastern Burkina — two Spaniards and an Irishman — were "executed by terrorists," the authorities said at the time.

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