BAMAKO - A Swiss woman living in the rebel-held northern Malian town of Timbuktu was taken from her house by unidentified gunmen on Sunday, a witness and several sources in the town said.

Yehia Tandina, one of the town's residents, said the woman, whom she identified only as Beatrice, was seized by armed men in turbans on Sunday afternoon. A neighbor of the Swiss woman who asked not to be named confirmed the incident.

The woman taken was described as a missionary and the sources said she was seized in the Abaradjou neighborhood of Timbuktu after she had stayed behind in the town following its capture by Tuareg separatist and Islamist rebels on April 1. 

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