Canadian kidnapped in Burkina Faso found dead, says official in West African country

A Canadian kidnapped in Burkina Faso has been found dead, a spokesperson for the Burkina Faso Security Ministry told Radio-Canada on Thursday.

Kirk Woodman was abducted Tuesday night by a dozen gunmen at a mining site owned by Vancouver-based Progress Minerals near the border with Niger, in an area the government says is under growing threat from armed jihadists. 

Woodman’s death was confirmed by a spokesperson for the Security Ministry.

On Wednesday, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Canadian officials were aware of the report of the kidnapping, and were reaching out to Woodman’s family.

He’s the second Canadian to go missing in the country in recent weeks, Burkina Faso Security Minister Clément Sawadogo said.

Quebec resident Edith Blais, 34, and her Italian travel companion, Luca Tacchetto, 30, were last heard from in the western city of Bobo-Dioulasso on Dec. 15.

Attacks by Islamist militants have surged in the country in recent months, and Burkina Faso has declared a state of emergency in several northern provinces since Dec. 31.

Security has deteriorated in the country as jihadists with links to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, including many based in neighbouring Mali, seek to increase their influence across the poorly policed scrublands of the Sahel region just south of the Sahara Desert in West Africa.

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