Reports: Travelers held hostage in Mali since 2018 are released
The New York Times is reporting that two people, an Italian man and Canadian woman taken hostage in Burkina Faso in December 2018, have been released.
Edith Blais, 35, and Luca Tacchetto, 31, were taken to Mali after their abductions, and now are believed to be in Bamako. They are in good condition and expected to travel to Italy next.
Their release Friday night came with the assistance of MINUSMA, the United Nations mission in Mali, according to an official in the United States speaking with the Times. Few other details were released.
The foreign ministries of Canada and Italy are working to assist, according to Italian media accounts.
Blais and Tacchetto began their journey in 2018 and made stops in several 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, 2018, two days before the social media posts, but then fell silent.
The two travelers had 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.
Although a number of armed Islamist groups operate in the region, including the West African branch of Islamic State, no one has taken responsibility for the abduction,