A Canadian woman and her Italian partner who were both kidnapped in Burkina Faso in December 2018 have both been released to the United Nations in Mali, and they appear to be in good health, according to reports.
The pair went missing two years ago while travelling through Burkina Faso, where armed groups with links to al-Qaeda and the ISIL (ISIS) group are active and have kidnapped Westerners in the past.
Édith Blais and Luca Tacchetto, both in their 30s, who apparently escaped, were picked up by UN forces before being transferred to Mali’s capital, Bamako, with plans in the pipeline to repatriate the couple.
Reports further revealed that the couple appeared bemused when officials greeted them with elbows, before the pair were told of new social etiquette measures to help curb coronavirus.
to a security official from the UN mission in Mali, MINUSMA, peacekeepers found the pair near the northern town of Kidal.
“Both are well. They are under our protection. They will be transferred to Bamako on Saturday and then flown to their respective countries,” the security official said.
In a statement, Canadian Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne said that “Canada is very relieved” that the pair “are now free from captivity”.
He thanked the governments of Burkina Faso and Mali, as well as the UN mission in Mali and other partners for “their assistance and co-operation over the past year in this matter”.
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