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Gunmen kidnap Colombian nun near Koutiala

The woman was kidnapped late Tuesday near Koutiala, a city some 400 kilometres (250 miles) east of the capital.

Northern Mali fell into the hands of jihadists linked to Al-Qaeda in early 2012 -- briefly backed by Tuareg-led rebels -- throwing the country into chaos

The woman was kidnapped late Tuesday near Koutiala, a city some 400 kilometres (250 miles) east of the capital, Bamako, which is in the Sikasso region near the Burkina Faso border.

"The Malian army is in pursuit," a security source who asked not to be identified told AFP.

A local official said the kidnappers drove away in a vehicle owned by the nun's Franciscan order.

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There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the kidnapping which follows the Christmas Eve capture of a French aid worker, Sophie Petronin, in the restive north of Mali, where jihadists have staged repeated attacks.

Last month, Al-Qaeda's affiliate in North Africa released a new proof-of-life video of Swiss missionary Beatrice Stockly, who has been held hostage by the group for more than a year.

The Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) video showed Stockly, who was captured in the north, saying she was in good health.

The north fell under the control of Tuareg-led rebels and jihadist groups linked to Al-Qaeda in 2012 who were largely ousted by a French-led military operation in January 2013.

But the implementation of a peace accord struck in 2015 has been piecemeal with insurgents still active across large parts of the region.

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There have also been jihadist attacks in the south and centre of the vast west African nation.

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