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Canadian killed by Jihadist in Burkina Fasso

West & Central Africa

Canadian killed by Jihadist in Burkina Fasso

A Canadian national, Kirk Woodman, who was abducted by suspected Jihadi group linked to Al Qaeda at a mining site in Tiabongou, about 20 kilometers, about 12 miles, from Mansila in Yagha province in Burkina Fasso, has been found dead.

Chrystia Freeland, Foreign Affairs Minister, who was in touch with the family said, “his family has the sympathy of our whole country and our government is working with, will continue to work on the ground in Burkina Faso and with the authorities in Burkina Faso, to be sure that the people responsible for this terrible killing face justice.”

Chief executive, Progress Minerals, Adam Spencer, Woodman’s company, said It is heartbroken by the news of the death. “Kirk was an incredibly accomplished and highly respected geologist with a career spanning over 30 years, with 20 years spent in West Africa. More importantly, Kirk was a kind person, a dedicated father and husband and considered a friend by all who knew him.”

Al Qaeda in the Maghreb

This kidnap and killing of Woodman follows the disappearance of a 34-year-old Quebec tourist, Sherbrooke native Edith Blais and her Italian friend Luca Tacchetto on 15 December 2018, when communication with them suddenly stopped as they drove in a car close to the Burkina Fasso border.

The Sahel region’s growing Al Qaeda Islamists has been a source of concern for the British, French and American governments. Kidnapping of foreigners, many whom are Christian missionaries, and demand for ransom has been a source income for the Islamic Jihadi groups in the region.

Several militia and Islamic terrorist groups have made the Sahel region; Mali, Niger and Burkina Fasso, their operational base with links to Nigeria’s Boko Haram’s Islamic Jihadists. The French and American governments have stationed drone bases in the region to combat the terrorist groups.

Malian government authorities have reported the killing of at least 10 people, on Tuesday 15 January in a village 45km from Menaka, by a Jihadi terrorist group. The statement said “At least 10 (people), fighters for the Movement for the Salvation of Azawad (MSA) and civilians were killed on Tuesday… by armed men,” the government official told AFP.

A statement by the MSA however said “the assailants summarily executed around 20 people, including the elderly.”


Hassan John is West Africa Editor, GCN and Priest of the Anglican Diocese of Jos.

Image Credits: Google Images/Kirk Woodman/Al Qaeda in the Maghreb


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