Canadian authorities are working to free a kidnapped Canadian businessman in northern Burkina Faso.
Burkina Faso security forces are on high alert and searching for the missing man as well as another Canadian who went missing in the country several weeks ago, CBC reported.
Kirk Woodman, who works for Progress Minerals Inc., a mining company based in White Rock, British Columbia, was kidnapped on Tuesday.
Burkina Faso’s security minister, Clement Sawadogo, said on Wednesday Woodman was abducted by a dozen gunmen on a mining site owned by Progress Minerals near the border with Niger.
“We have faith and trust in Canadian authorities to bring our husband and father home safe. We are hopeful for a fast resolution to the situation,” Woodman’s family said in a statement, asking for privacy.
In the other case, Edith Blais, 34, a Quebec resident, and her Italian travel companion, Luca Tacchetto, 30, were last heard from in the western city of Bobo-Dioulasso on December 15.
The office of International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau told Radio-Canada that despite not having any confirmation, it was approaching Blais’ case as it would a kidnapping. The office declined further comment.
Islamist militants have increased their attacks in Burkina Faso over the last few months. A state of emergency has been declared in several northern provinces on December 31.
Security has deteriorated as jihadists with links to Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, including many based in neighbouring Mali, seek to increase their influence across the empty desert areas of the Sahel region just south of the Sahara Desert in West Africa.
– African News Agency (ANA)