Burkina Faso

Irish national identified in Burkina Faso attack that killed 3 foreigners, 1 Burkinabé missing

File photo of Burkina Faso security forces. Security forces launched a massive manhunt on 27 April 2021, after 4 men were abducted, including 3 Europeans and a Burkinabé.
File photo of Burkina Faso security forces. Security forces launched a massive manhunt on 27 April 2021, after 4 men were abducted, including 3 Europeans and a Burkinabé. AFP - SIA KAMBOU

The Irish Foreign Ministry identified on Wednesday the Irishman shot dead in an ambush in eastern Burkina Faso as Rory Young, one of three Europeans killed on Monday. 

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In a statement, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney called his death a “tragic loss of life”.

Young headed and co-founded Chengeta Wildlife, an anti-poaching organization. He was in the restive eastern part of Burkina Faso with two Spanish journalists, David Beriain and Roberto Fraile, who were "capturing his efforts to protect precious wildlife" were "attacked by terrorists,” according to a statement released on Twitter by the charity.

On Tuesday, Coveney’s Spanish counterpart, Pedro Sanchez, held a press conference saying the three men had been “executed” during an attack on their convoy near Pama.

Their remains were transferred to Ouagadougou, the capital, Tuesday evening.

There is still no word on the Burkinabé national who was with the convoy and who vanished.

According to information received by RFI, the team, which was working on a poaching documentary in Arly National Park, was strongly discouraged from going to the area. A number of security operations are working on the ground, but the security situation remains fragile.

The convoy included security forces, forest rangers, and the three Europeans, according to the Burkinabé government.

No one has claimed the attack. The attackers used two trucks and about 12 motorbikes, according to security sources.

The area has a lot of vegetation, and the road is rough where they were attacked, which means they wouldn’t have been able to drive very fast, according to Burkinabé police superintendent Rachid Palenfo, who spoke to Reuters news agency.

Jihadists are reportedly holding a number of foreign hostages in Burkina Faso, but also in Mali and Niger.

Two religious men were killed at different parts of Burkina Faso in less than a year. A priest who had been kidnapped was found dead in January after he went missing in the southwest of the country.

And the grand imam of Djibo was found dead, just three days after he had been kidnapped from his car.

The ongoing violence has created an ongoing human crisis in the Sahel, the UN agencies warned on Tuesday. It said 29 million Sahelians were in need of aid and protection, five million more than last year, numbers that hit an all-time high.

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