After the student known as the "pride of Senegal" disappeared in France earlier this month, it made headlines around the world and a major campaign was launched to find her. A Senegalese minister now says 20-year-old Diary Sow just needed a break, the BBC reports. In a lengthy Twitter thread, Serigne Mbaye Thiam shared excerpts of a letter written to him by Sow, who had never missed a lecture at the prestigious preparatory school Lycée Louis-le-Grand before she failed to return from the Christmas break. Sow told the minister she was "on a little break to regain her senses." "I am not hiding. I'm not running away," she wrote. "See it as a kind of welcome respite from my life." Sow, a baker's daughter, moved to Paris to study after winning awards as Senegal's best student two years in a row.
Sow denied that she had cracked under the pressure of the intense preparatory school course and COVID restrictions, though many in France worry that the psychological toll of the pandemic is creating a "lost generation," France 24 reports. "My family deserves to know, until I find in myself, the courage and strength to reconnect with them," Sow wrote. "Those who seek a rational explanation for my act will be disappointed, since there is none." She added: "I would ask you to reassure the people who are looking for me. I'm fine, I'm safe. Know that I am terribly, deeply sorry." Thiam asked people to respect Sow's privacy. "Your encouragement has helped Diary through this difficult time," he wrote. "Now she needs serenity." (Read more France stories.)