A Canadian woman who went missing with her travel companion in West Africa last December are reportedly alive, but no longer in the country according to a senior minister with Burkina Faso’s government.
Communications Minister Remis Fulgance Dandjinou told Italian public broadcaster Rai that Edith Blais of Sherbrooke, Que., and her travel companion, Luca Tacchetto of Italy, are not in danger.
He said in an interview on Friday that he is hopeful the two travellers can be located and brought home safely.
Blais, 34, and Tacchetto, 30, were travelling by car in southwestern Burkina Faso and heading to Togo to do volunteer work with an aid group when they disappeared.
A recent report from the Human Rights Watch said that they were abducted and taken to Mali. The report cites an interview with Malian security sources on Jan. 13. It does not mention what might happen to the two captives.
“While no armed Islamist group has taken responsibility for their abduction, they are believed to have been kidnapped and later taken to Mali,” said the report, titled “Abuses by Armed Islamist Groups in Burkina Faso’s Sahel Region,” it said.
In January, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated that he believed Blais was still alive.
Trudeau made that statement the day after another Canadian was found dead in northern Burkina Faso near the border with Mali and Niger.
The man, Kirk Woodman, was an executive at a mining company based in Vancouver. He was taken by gunpoint as he worked on a gold mining project.
-With files from the Canadian Press.