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article image'White man' found shot dead in Burkina's jihadist-hit north

By AFP     Jan 17, 2019 in World

The body of a "white man with gunshot wounds" has been found in a northern region of Burkina Faso where jihadists have carried out attacks, a security official told AFP Thursday.

The body was found late on Wednesday in Siega in Soum province, "and is being taken to Dori for identification," the source said.

Last month, 34-year-old Canadian aid worker Edith Blais, was reported missing with an Italian friend, Lucas Tacchetto, 30, as they were travelling between the western town of Bobo-Dioulasso and the capital Ouagadougou.

Separately, Canadian geologist Kirk Woodman was kidnapped from a gold mine in the east of the country late on Tuesday.

His abductors were last seen heading towards neighbouring Niger, a direction that would not have taken them through Soum, officials said.

Burkina Faso lies in the heart of the vast Sahel region, which is struggling with a bloody Islamist insurgency.

The region turned into a hotbed of violent extremism and lawlessness after chaos engulfed Libya in 2011.

An Islamist insurgency began in northern Mali, while Boko Haram rose in northern Nigeria.

Jihadist raids began in northern Burkina Faso in 2015 before spreading to the east, near the border with Togo and Benin.

Most of the attacks have been attributed to Ansarul Islam and the Group to Support Islam and Muslims (JNIM).

Smaller groups are also active, with the overall number of fighters estimated to be in the hundreds, according to security sources.

The groups are believed to be responsible for more than 270 deaths since 2015. Ouagadougou has been hit three times and almost 60 people have died there.

Eight foreigners have been abducted in the last four years, according to an AFP tally.

Among them is 84-year-old Australian doctor worker, Kenneth Elliott, who with his wife Jocelyn, was kidnapped in April 2015 in Djibo, where the pair ran a clinic for the poor.

Jocelyn Elliott was released after a year. Her husband, whose whereabouts remain unknown, has been declared a citizen of Burkina Faso, under a decree issued last November.

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