An attack has targeted an anti-poaching unit on the Fada-Pama road in Burkina Faso’s eastern province of Gourma, according to security sources.Four people, including three foreign journalists and a Burkinabe soldier, were reported missing on Monday after the attack.
The attack was confirmed by security sources, one of them claiming that the missing Westerners “are two Spaniards and an Irishman, all of them training journalists working on behalf of an NGO specializing in environment protection.”
The attackers acted in broad daylight aboard two pick-ups and a dozen motorcycles, according to security sources, which specified that weapons and equipment, including two pick-ups and a drone, had been taken by them.
Burkina Faso, one of the member countries of the G5 Sahel with Niger, Mali, Mauritania and Chad, has been the target in recent years of hostage-taking raids blamed on jihadist groups, such as the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM), affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (EIGS).
The attacks, which were often carried out in the north, are now spreading to the eastern border with Niger, Mali and Benin, which is home to a large wildlife reserve infested by terrorist groups.
The jihadist groups are trying to exploit artisanal mining sites and wildlife resources in the region, in order to fund their activities, the authorities in Burkina Faso say.
The violence has already killed more than 1,200 people since 2015 and forced over a million others to flee their homes