Burkina Faso - European Countries Vow to Fight Extremism

Germany, France, Italy and Spain say they will continue to fight terrorism in Africa's troubled Sahel region following the jihadi killing of three Europeans in Burkina Faso.

Four European countries on Friday condemned this week's killing of two Spanish citizens and an Irish national in an ambush in Burkina Faso.

In a joint statement, the governments of Germany, France, Spain and Italy said they would keep backing efforts to combat terrorism in Africa's Sahel region.

"We will continue existing initiatives to support the armies of the region, as well as the gendarmerie and internal security forces in their operations, training and capacity building," the statement said.

The commitment came as the bodies of the three slain foreigners were flown home.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez expressed his condolences and added: "Our appreciation to those like them who do courageous and essential journalism from conflict zones every day."

What happened in Burkina Faso?

A convoy carrying Irish conservationist Rory Young and Spanish journalists David Beriain and Roberto Fraile came under attack by jihadis in eastern Burkina Faso on Monday.

The trio had been making a documentary about wildlife protection and had joined an anti-poaching patrol led by a special military wildlife force in Arly National Park.

The three Europeans and one local soldier were killed in the ambush. The government of Burkina Faso said six other people were wounded. The battle lasted three hours, with the jihadis ultimately outnumbering the convoy's soldiers, according to reports.

The Europeans were initially reported missing but a day later, the Burkina Faso authorities said they had been "executed by terrorists."

Their bodies were flown home early Friday on a plane provided by the Spanish military.

What is the situation in Burkina Faso?

Burkina Faso, a landlocked country in the vast Sahel region, has been in the grip of an intensifying jihadist insurgency since 2015.

Once largely confined to the nation's north, killings blamed on Islamic extremists have more recently targeted other areas.

Thousands of people have died in attacks, while more than 1 million people have been displaced.

The same day the anti-poaching patrol was ambushed, an attack by gunmen on a village in northern Burkina Faso left 18 people dead.

nm/rt (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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