The Italian members of Jehovah's Witnesses, kidnapped by the jihadists in Mali, have been released

An elderly Italian couple and their son who were kidnapped by jihadists in Mali in May 2022 have been released, the Italian government said.

The three were in good health and are expected to return to Rome soon, it reports "BBC".

The family were members of the Jehovah's Witnesses religious community who were allegedly planning to build a church when they were abducted from their home outside the southern city of Kutiala.

Together with them, their housekeeper, a citizen of Togo, was kidnapped.

Her fate still remains unknown.

The release of the couple Rocco Langone and Maria Donata Caivano and their son Giovanni Langone was achieved through the mediation of the Italian intelligence agency and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, thanks to their contacts with Malian community leaders and intelligence agencies, Italian authorities inform.

The family lived in an area that had been infiltrated by a number of jihadists, and the abductions were carried out by a faction linked to an offshoot of al-Qaeda known as the Islamic and Muslim Support Group.

Mali has been wracked by insurgency for more than a decade, with jihadists often kidnapping foreign nationals for ransom or to demand the release of their comrades.

The military seized power in a coup in 2021, accusing the government of not doing enough to quell the rebellion.

It has expelled French soldiers and UN peacekeepers and brought in Russia's Wagner group to help fight the jihadists, but there are no signs the insurgency is coming to an end.

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