OUAGADOUGOU, April 26 (Reuters) – Four people including three foreigners are missing after an armed ambush on an anti-poaching patrol in eastern Burkina Faso on Monday, four local security sources said.
The attackers struck during the day on a road leading to the vast forested reserve of Pama. Those missing include a member of the Burkinabe armed forces, two Spanish citizens and an Irish national who worked for conservation organisations, two of the sources said.
There was no immediate comment from the local authorities or the Spanish foreign ministry.
Ireland’s foreign ministry said it was “aware of the reports and is liaising closely with international partners regarding the situation on the ground.”
Burkina Faso, like much of West Africa’s Sahel region, faces a deepening security crisis as groups with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State carry out attacks on the army and civilians, despite help from French and U.N. forces.
The worsening violence has led to one of the world’s fastest-growing displacement crises, the United Nations warned earlier in April. The Sahel now hosts nearly three million refugees and people displaced inside their own country.
The insurgents are believed to be holding a number of foreign hostages in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.
(Reporting by Thiam Ndiaga Additional reporting by Conor Humphries in Dublin and Isla Binnie in Madrid Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Kim Coghill)
(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2021. Click For Restrictions – https://agency.reuters.com/en/copyright.html