The research was tedious for the Burkinabe security forces, as insecurity reigns in eastern Burkina Faso, on the axis connecting the towns of Fada and Pama, surrounded by terrorist groups. On Tuesday April 27, the bodies of three Westerners – two Spaniards and an Irishman – who disappeared Monday after an attack in the area, were finally found in the bush, riddled with bullets.
Spain’s Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya has confirmed the deaths of two nationals: journalists David Beriain, 43, and Roberto Fraile, 47. The duo were making a documentary on the fight against poaching in the region and following a patrol made up of soldiers, foresters and trainers from the American NGO Chengeta Wildlife.
Continuation of “sweep” operations
The Irishman, Rory Young, president and co-founder of the NGO, was also killed in the attack, as the organization confirmed on its website. A Burkinabé was still missing Tuesday evening, according to the authorities, while “Sweeping operations” were continuing.
The two Spanish journalists had arrived a week earlier in the Nazinga reserve in southern Burkina Faso, where they were following the end of a six-month training course for the launch of a new anti-poaching unit provided by Chengeta Wildlife. . Monday’s outing was the unit’s first field operation.
A consistent mission “To patrol the forest and check for the presence of wildlife, following the tracks of elephants”, reports a soldier, injured during the mission and who prefers to remain anonymous. According to the same source, the group, which left on Monday morning from Natiaboani, one of the last towns before the Pama nature reserve, was made up of a “Thirty” soldiers, two pick-ups topped with PKMS machine guns and an escort of “Twelve motorcycles”.
“There was a black flag”
“It was around 9 am, shortly after departure, that we came across a terrorist camp in the forest. There was a black flag with an inscription in Arabic, they were very numerous and very equipped ”, tells this soldier. The jihadists start firing heavy weapons. The patrol finds itself trapped, with the two journalists in a pick-up in the middle of the convoy. The fighting reportedly lasted about three hours. “The attackers surrounded us, they even took one of our pick-ups to strafe us, we started to run out of ammunition”, continues this same source. “The Westerners got out of the vehicle to try to flee into the forest, that’s where we lost them”, said the latter, adding that a Swiss was also part of the mission. Several security sources say he was found injured.
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