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Jan 18, 2019 | Burkina Faso

Canadian woman missing in west Africa believed to be alive: PM

By AFP
Luca Tacchetto (L) and Edith Blais (R) -- seen in this photo provided by their families from a Facebook post -- were reported missing in Burkina Faso in January 2019, and were last seen in December 2018.  By FAMILY HANDOUT (FACEBOOK/AFP/File)
Luca Tacchetto (L) and Edith Blais (R) -- seen in this photo provided by their families from a Facebook post -- were reported missing in Burkina Faso in January 2019, and were last seen in December 2018. By FAMILY HANDOUT (FACEBOOK/AFP/File)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday that a Canadian woman reported missing along with her Italian partner in Burkina Faso is believed to be alive.

"To the best of my knowledge, yes," Trudeau said in response to a reporter's question.

"With all that I know so far, I have not been told anything else other than that she is believed to be alive."

The Canadian government said earlier it was leaving no stone unturned as it tries to determine what exactly happened to Edith Blais, 34, and her companion Luca Tacchetto, 30.

The pair were last seen on December 15 traveling by car in Burkina Faso between the town of Bobo-Dioulasso and the capital Ouagadougou.

Kidnappings have increased in the impoverished Sahel state, which has been battling a rising wave of jihadist attacks over the last three years.

Late Wednesday, a Canadian geologist kidnapped at a remote gold mine in northeast Burkina Faso by suspected jihadists was found dead.

Blais and Tacchetto were working on a reforestation project with aid group Zion'Gaia.

Investigators on the ground have found no clues in their disappearance, but a senior Canadian official told AFP on condition of anonymity that they may have fallen victim to a kidnapping or a robbery gone awry.

"All options are being explored," Canadian International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said after meeting Friday with Blais' family in Quebec province.

"We are doing everything we can," she said.

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