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Updated Mar 17, 2020

A Canadian woman and Italian man who were abducted in December 2018 in the southwestern Burkina Faso city of Bobo-Dioulasso, have escaped from captivity and are now safe in the Malian capital of Bamako. Édith Blais and Luca Tacchetto were wearing traditional Tuareg clothing when they flagged down a passing car and asked the driver to take them to the nearest United Nations post, according to Agence France-Presse. Neither have spoken publicly about how they escaped from captivity, and no jihadist or separatist group in the region has claimed responsibility for the abduction.

Italian Luca Tacchetto (L) and Canadian Edith Blais (C) are greeted by officials as they arrive at the airport in Bamako on March 14, 2020, after their release by UN peacekeepers
Italian Luca Tacchetto (L) and Canadian Edith Blais (C) are greeted by officials as they arrive at the airport in Bamako on March 14, 2020, after their release by UN peacekeepers.

Why It Matters

Kidnapping of foreign nationals for ransom is a way for terrorist groups to fund themselves. Blais and Tacchetto were traveling in West Africa and making their way to Togo for a humanitarian project when they disappeared, highlighting the ever-present danger that instability in the Sahel poses to civilians both foreign and local. That the kidnapping took place in Burkina Faso, some way from northern Mali, where the majority of the fighting between local and international forces and jihadist groups has taken place, is especially worrying for efforts to contain the insurgency.

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/world-africa-51893154

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