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    Security forces in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso (File)

    Canadian Citizen Missing in Burkina Faso Believed to Be Alive - Reports

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    A Canadian woman reported missing along with her Italian partner in Burkina Faso is believed to be alive, AFP reported Friday.

    "To the best of my knowledge, yes […] With all that I know so far, I have not been told anything else other than that she is believed to be alive", Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday in response to a reporter's question, as quoted by AFP.

    Edith Blais, 34, and her companion Luca Tacchetto, 30, were reportedly last seen on 15 December travelling by car in Burkina Faso, between the town of Bobo-Dioulasso and the capital Ouagadougou.

    According to AFP, Blais and Tacchetto were working on a reforestation project with aid group Zion'Gaia. Local investigators have not determined the circumstances of the disappearance; however, a senior Canadian official told AFP on condition of anonymity that it could have been a robbery gone awry and they could have been victims of kidnapping.

    READ MORE: Al-Qaeda Spawned Terrorists Claim Responsibility for Burkina Faso Attacks

    "All options are being explored […] We are doing everything we can", Canadian International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau told reporters after meeting on Friday with Blais' family in Quebec province, AFP reported.

    Last week, Burkina Faso authorities prolonged the state of emergency in several northern provinces over increased activities of Islamist groups in the region. The state of emergency was declared by a decree of Burkina Faso President Roch Marc Christian Kabore on 31 December.

    Burkina Faso is reportedly facing rising activities of two major Islamist groups: Ansar ul Islam and Group to Support Islam and Muslims.

    Most recently, at least 12 civilians were killed and two injured in a terror attack last week in the Soum province, located in the north of Burkina Faso, according to the country's Security Ministry. The assailants burned down a grain warehouse, a cart and six shops and took five motorcycles and a lot of bulls with them.

    The government of Burkina Faso has also accused terror groups of inciting ethnic tensions via such attacks on civilians.


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