Canadian woman and Italian boyfriend missing in Burkina Faso

09 January, 2019, 23:06 | Author: Darnell Taylor
  • Blais and Tacchetto were heading to Ouagadougou from Bobo Diulasso for a four or five-day stay noting that a Canadian travel warning had reported a risk of banditry and kidnapping in the area

The travellers were on their way to the capital Ouagadougou from Bobo-Dioulasso, the country's second largest city, when communications between them and their families "stopped abruptly".

The pair were supposed to travel by auto to Togo for a humanitarian aid project with Zion'Gaia, an environmentally oriented group that engages in reforestation projects, according to its website.

"They weren't anxious about anything. She has been dreaming about travelling to Africa for all of her life", Melanie Blais said.

The travellers were expected to stay in Ouagadougou for four or five days, and possibly sell their auto before moving on to Togo.

Blais' family has started a Facebook page and are grateful for the help they've received so far, including from a Quebecer in Burkina Faso who is travelling in person to different border crossings to ask about Blais.

Guy Pardy, a former Canadian diplomat and former director general of consular affairs, cautions travellers against taking such trips in the troubled region.

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Luca Tacchetto and Edith Blais were expected to arrive in Togo before Christmas for a humanitarian project, but no one has heard from them since they were in Burkina Faso on December 15.

Global Affairs has said they're talking to local authorities in Burkina Faso, but they haven't said anything else about the case.

Ethnic violence left 48 dead in Burkina Faso this week, and a state of emergency was decreed in several provinces in the wake of recurrent militant attacks. "Consular services have been provided to members of the family in Canada", a foreign ministry spokesman told AFP.

The Canadian government has been notified and Interpol will be launching an inquiry.

The government of Canada's website recommends avoiding all non-essential travel to the country due to the threat of terrorism, banditry and kidnapping.

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