Burkina Faso. (Google Maps)

B.C.-based mining company worker abducted in Burkina Faso

Government officials in that West African nation say Canadian was kidnapped by suspected extremists

A Canadian man has been kidnapped by suspected extremists in Burkina Faso’s northern Sahel region, government officials said Wednesday.

A spokesman for Burkina Faso’s security ministry identified the man as Kirk Woodman, who works for the Vancouver-based Progress Mineral Mining Company.

READ MORE: Canadian freed from captivity says family was kidnapped because wife was pregnant

Spokesman Jean Paul Badoum said Woodman was abducted overnight during a raid on a mining site in Tiabongou, about 20 kilometres from Mansila in Yagha province.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Canadian officials are reaching out to the kidnapping victim’s family.

“The Canadian agencies involved in this situation are really aware of this situation, and we’ll be in contact with the family,” she told reporters in Repentigny, northeast of Montreal.

The news comes soon after a 34-year-old Quebec tourist and her travelling companion were reported missing in the west African nation.

Sherbrooke native Edith Blais and her Italian friend Luca Tacchetto were travelling by car in southwestern Burkina Faso when all communication with their families abruptly ended Dec. 15.

A statement by Security Minister Clement Sawadogo referred to the disappearance of Blais and Tacchetto as a kidnapping.

West Africa’s Sahel region has seen a number of abductions of foreigners in recent years by extremists linked to al-Qaida or the Islamic State organization.

Burkina Faso recently declared a state of emergency in the region as attacks by Islamic extremists increased, especially along the border with Niger and Mali.

Sawadogo said foreigners should use extreme caution when travelling in dangerous areas of the country.

The Associated Press

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