May 17. 2021. 5:33

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Irish conservation worker reportedly killed in Burkina Faso

The anti-poaching patrol was attacked on a road leading to the vast forested reserve of Pama, Burkina Faso. Photograph: iStock

An Irish conservation worker and two other Spanish hostages have died after being abducted in Burkina Faso, security sources have told Reuters.

Two Spanish sources with direct knowledge of the situation confirmed to Reuters that the two Spaniards have died.

The hostages were taken after an ambush on an anti-poaching patrol in eastern Burkina Faso on Monday.

The attackers struck during the day on a road leading to the vast forested reserve of Pama.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said it was “aware of the reports and is liaising closely with international partners regarding the situation on the ground”.

It is understood no formal request for consular assistance has been received and that it could be the case that the Irish national has dual nationality.

The Republic has no honorary consul in Burkina Faso and the situation is being monitored from the embassy in Nigeria.

The Papa Nuncio in Burkina Faso, Archbishop Michael Crotty, is from Mitchelstown, Co Cork.

There was no immediate comment from the local authorities or the Spanish foreign ministry.

Burkina Faso, like much of West Africa’s Sahel region, faces a deepening security crisis as groups with links to al-Qaeda and Islamic State carry out attacks on the army and civilians, despite help from French and UN forces.

The worsening violence has led to one of the world’s fastest-growing displacement crises, the United Nations warned earlier in April. The Sahel now hosts nearly three million refugees and people displaced inside their own country.

The insurgents are believed to be holding a number of foreign hostages in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. – Reuters