Security forces in Burkina Faso searched the desert close to the borders with northern Mali and Niger today for a Romanian security officer kidnapped at a manganese mine where he worked.
The Burkina Faso government said that it was setting up a crisis cell and that the attackers, whose identity and motives were unknown, had fled towards the border with Niger.
“We have teams investigating on the ground but we are yet to find any trace of the kidnappers,” a security source told Reuters.
He said a commando unit of five people attacked the Pan African Minerals patrol at its concession at Tambao.
Islamist gunmen, separatist rebels and criminal gangs continue to operate in northern Mali two years after a French military intervention scattered gunmen from the main towns they occupied and UN peacekeepers were deployed.
In the past, kidnapped foreigners have been taken into northern Mali’s desert zones and later exchanged for multi-million dollar ransom payments.
Pan African said today that the attack had taken place on the perimeter of its site at Tambao.
The company is a subsidiary of Timis Corporation, owned by Frank Timis, a Romanian-Australian businessman with investments in West African oil and mining.
Meanwhile, unidentified gunmen attacked the town of Boni, about 100km north of the Burkina Faso border, killing two people, security forces in Mali said.