Canadian man kidnapped in Burkina Faso: officials
Published Wednesday, January 16, 2019 12:41PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, January 16, 2019 3:22PM EST
OTTAWA – Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says she is aware of "serious reports" about the kidnapping of a Canadian man in Burkina Faso.
According to local officials, a Canadian working for Vancouver-based Progress Mineral Mining Company identified as Kirk Woodman, was kidnapped overnight.
A spokesperson for Burkina Faso’s security ministry said the abduction occurred during a raid of a local mining site in the northern party of the country.
In a statement to CTV News, Woodman’s family has asked for privacy and says they will not be speaking publicly.
“We have faith and trust in Canadian authorities to bring our husband and father home safe. We are hopeful for a fast resolution to the situation,” the family said. Woodman’s son Matt is an employee of CTV News, based in Edmonton.
CTV News has spoken with the company’s CEO, who declined to comment.
Speaking to media in Quebec, Freeland said the relevant federal agencies are in touch with officials in Burkina Faso over what she called a “difficult situation.”
"The Canadian agencies involved in this situation are really aware of this situation, and we'll be in contact with the family," Freeland said.
This comes after 34-year-old Quebec woman Edith Blais and an Italian friend Luca Tacchetto went missing while they were travelling together in the West African country earlier this year.
This region of Burkina Faso has seen other foreigner abductions by terrorist-linked extremists in recent years. Burkinabe authorities declared a state of emergency in several regions along the border on Dec. 31.
The federal government has a strong travel warning about Burkina Faso, urging Canadians to avoid all travel to much of the country because of the threat of terrorism.
The travel advice page specifically states that "the threat of kidnapping persists in Burkina Faso’s northern area, due to the proximity of Mali and Niger, where criminal and terrorist groups are active."
With files from The Associated Press and CTV News’ Michel Boyer
A Canadian has reportedly been kidnapped in Burkina Faso on the site of Canadian-based exploration company Progress Minerals. I've spoken with the CEO who declined to comment at this time. #cdnpoli #burkinafaso— Michel Boyer (@BoyerMichel) January 16, 2019