Burkina Faso: Foreign NGO Workers Go Missing After Ambush

Security sources say an anti-poaching patrol accompanied by Western journalists was targeted by armed attackers. Those missing are believed to include Spanish and Irish citizens.

Four people are missing in Burkina Faso following an armed ambush on an anti-poaching patrol on Monday. Local officials also said three other people were injured in the attack.

What do we know so far?

The missing included two Spanish citizens and an Irish national, along with a member of the Burkinabe armed forces. The three Europeans were reportedly working for a NGO dedicated to protecting the environment.

The attack occurred during the daytime in the Fada N'Gourma-Pama area in eastern Burkina Faso. In addition to the NGO workers, the patrol group also consisted of soldiers, forest rangers and foreign journalists.

No group has yet claimed responsiblity for the kidnapping. Authorities are conducting a search for the missing people.

The Spanish Foreign Ministry has not yet commented on the kidnapping, but the Irish Foreign Ministry said it "was aware of the reports and is liasing closely with international partners regarding the situation on the ground."

What's the security situation in Burkina Faso?

Burkina Faso faces a precarious security situation due to the presence of jihadist groups such as al-Qaida and the "Islamic State" (IS) in the Sahel region. Burkina Faso, one of the world's poorest countries, borders Mali, which has faced an armed insurgency since 2012.

Armed groups frequently cross the porous border between Mali and Burkina Faso to conduct raids, with Burkina Faso also serving as a hub for weapons trafficking. According to the Geneva Center for Security Sector Governance, Burkina Faso's security forces are poorly equipped and lack the operational capacity to effectively keep the country safe from external threats.

wd/rt (AFP, Reuters)

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