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30.04.2021 Burkina Faso

Bodies of three Europeans killed in Burkina Faso arrive in Spain

By AFP
An Airbus 310 jet belonging to the Spanish air force took off with the bodies of the journalists and conservation campaigner.  By JAVIER SORIANO (AFP)
LISTEN APR 30, 2021
An Airbus 310 jet belonging to the Spanish air force took off with the bodies of the journalists and conservation campaigner. By JAVIER SORIANO (AFP)

The bodies of two Spanish journalists and an Irish wildlife activist killed during an attack on an anti-poaching patrol in Burkina Faso arrived in Spain by military plane early on Friday.

The Airbus 310 carrying the bodies landed at a military airbase in Torrejón de Ardoz, east of Madrid, at 9:00 am (0700 GMT), an AFP correspondent said.

Journalists David Beriain and Roberto Fraile were accompanying Rory Young, head of the Chengeta Wildlife group, in Arly National Park on Monday when they were attacked.

They were with a group that included soldiers and forest rangers when they were ambushed by assailants in pickup trucks and on motorbikes.

The three Europeans were initially reported missing but a day later, the Burkina Faso authorities said they had been "executed by terrorists".

Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya and Defence Minister Margarita Robles were on the tarmac at the airbase when the plane landed, with the three wooden coffins carried out by 24 Spanish air force officers.

The plane had touched down in the capital Burkina Faso's capital Ouagadougou shortly after midnight (0000 GMT) and took off two hours later with the three bodies on board, AFP correspondents said.

Burkina Faso, a landlocked country in the vast Sahel region, has been in the grip of an intensifying jihadist insurgency since 2015 which has ravaged its once-vibrant tourist industry.

Once largely confined to Burkina's north, killings blamed on jihadist groups like the Al-Qaeda-linked Group to Support Islam and Muslims (GSIM) and the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) have more recently targeted other parts of the country.

More than 1,300 people have been killed and one million have fled the violence since 2015.

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