Two Spanish journalists who went missing earlier this week in eastern Burkina Faso were killed in an ambush, Spain’s government has confirmed.
The two Spaniards, along with a Burkinabe national and an Irish citizen, disappeared on Monday near a national park close to the border with Benin after armed individuals attacked a convoy of security forces and expatriates.
“The worst of news is confirmed,” Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on his Twitter account on Tuesday, sending his condolences to the two men’s families. He named them as David Beriain and Roberto Fraile.
The Spanish nationals are from northern Spain and were working on a documentary on how Burkina Faso’s authorities were tackling poaching and on the communities of people living in the park, Arancha González Laya, Spain’s foreign affairs minister, said in a news conference earlier yesterday. They were travelling at the time of the attack in a group with about 40 people, she added.
“It is a dangerous area where terrorists, bandits, jihadists usually operate.”
Burkina Faso has in recent years been gripped by escalating violence that has spread across the Sahel region to several countries including Niger and Mali. Its government confirmed earlier on Tuesday that four people – three foreigners and a Burkinabe national – had gone missing. Security sources quoted by news agencies had said the three foreigners had been found dead but in a statement the government said alleged photos of the bodies now circulating on social media had not been formally identified as being those of the missing.
The Irish government, meanwhile, said it was “aware of the reports and is liaising closely with international partners regarding the situation on the ground”.
Christophe Deloire, secretary general of Reporters Without Borders, said on Twitter the press watchdog had learned from official sources in Burkina Faso that three journalists, including two Spanish reporters, who were investigating poaching “were killed in an attack in the east of the country”.
AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES