Spanish journalists and an Irish citizen killed in Burkina Faso

by Lorraine Williamson
Spanish journalists - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Burkina_Faso_Gourma.JPG
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MADRID – Two Spanish journalists were killed in an attack by armed men in Burkina Faso. It  involved the documentary maker David Beriain (44) and his cameraman Robert Fraile (47). An Irish citizen was also killed in the attack.

Prime Minister Sánchez expressed his respect for all journalists who, like Beriain and Fraile, carry out courageous and important work. Often this work on a dailybasis is from conflict areas. Representatives from politics and journalism have also expressed their horror at the murder of the two Spanish journalists. A minute’s silence was observed for them in the House of Representatives. 

The Irish citizen has been named as Zambian-born Rory Young. He was head of the anti-poaching organisation, Chengeta Wildlife.

11 Spanish journalists killed since 1980 

Including the deaths of Beriain and Fraile, 11 Spanish journalists have been killed in conflict areas since 1980. Minister González Laya of Foreign Affairs announced on Monday that contact had been lost with the group. They had been based near a nature park, close to the border with Benin. 

Casa Las Dunas Spain

Terrorist groups active in the area 

Beriain and Fraile collaborated with Mr Young on a documentary about how local authorities fight poaching and protect the animals in the nature parks. The charity, Chengeta Wildlife trains anti-poaching rangers in Africa. It said Mr Young had dedicated his life to wildlife protection. The two journalists had been documenting Mr Young’s efforts to protect wildlife. Sources of Burkino Faso’s security forces reported that the group was attacked by armed men near Pama Natural Park.

According to Burkino Faso authorities, the ambush was committed by terrorists. During the attack, several group members were injured and the three Europeans and another member of the local security service were kidnapped. “The area where the group was located is dangerous because many terrorists, poachers and jihadists are active here,” said Minister González Laya. Until now, the attack in Burkina Faso has not yet been claimed. 

Migration crisis 

Burkina Faso, like much of the western Sahel, is a high-risk area. Furthermore, the crisis is increasing here as groups linked to Al-Qaeda or Islamic State are carrying out attacks on the military and civilians. As a result, this mounting violence has led to a migration crisis that has displaced millions of people, according to the United Nations. In the Sahel, nearly three million people have now fled the violence in their area. 

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