HRW: Tourists abducted in Burkina Faso were taken to Mali
It’s been more than three months since travelers Canadian Edith Blais and Luca Tacchetto of Italy went missing in Burkina Faso, and there’s been little information to break the silence on what has happened to them.
Now a report from Human Rights Watch suggests that Blais and Tacchetto were kidnapped and taken to Mali. The detail appears in a footnote of a report released 10 days ago that focuses on atrocities committed in Burkina Faso by both armed extremist groups and security forces.
“In December 2018, Canadian Edith Blais and Italian Luca Tacchetto went missing while traveling through Burkina Faso,” the report said. “While no armed Islamist group has taken responsibility for their abduction, they are believed to have been kidnapped and later taken to Mali.”
The HRW researchers cite a January 13 interview with Malian security sources for the information, but offered no additional details. Canadian officials have said they believe Blais is alive in the absence of any reason or information proving otherwise, while Italian authorities continue the search for Tacchetto.
Blais, 34, and Tacchetto, 30, began their journey last year and made stops in European countries before heading to the African continent. The couple frequently updated social media with their travels, with the last contact a Facebook photo album posted from Bobo-Dioulasso by Tacchetto. Blais spoke with her family on December 13, two days before the social media posts.
They made it safely through Morocco, Mauritania and Mali before arriving in Burkina Faso, and were supposed to continue to Togo before the holidays to work with Zion’Gaïa, a tropical reforestation project. They never arrived.
Image: Edith Blais