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Two Spanish journalists and Irish citizen killed in Burkina Faso attack
April 28, 2021
Two Spanish journalists and an Irish citizen have been killed after they were ambushed during an anti-poaching mission in Burkina Faso.
Reporter David Beriain, 44, and photographer Roberto Fraile, 47, had been filming a documentary.
Spanish media producer Movistar+ paid tribute to those killed including Mr Beriain, who had worked on a number of films for the company.
The Irish citizen has been named as Zambian-born Rory Young, head of the anti-poaching organisation Chengeta Wildlife.
Mr Young was also the co-founder of Chengeta Wildlife, a charity that trains anti-poaching rangers in Africa and which said he had dedicated his life to wildlife protection.
He was leading a patrol in Burkina Faso’s Arly National Park when the team was attacked, the charity said in a statement.
The two journalists had been documenting Mr Young’s efforts to protect wildlife, it said.
A member of the Burkinabe armed forces also went missing on Monday when the convoy of security forces and forest rangers was ambushed. The soldier is still missing.
No one has yet claimed responsibility for the ambush, but officials described the attackers as “terrorists”.
The team that was attacked was part of a new joint army, police and forestry unit that had just gone through six months of training and was starting operations in conservation areas around Pama on the border with Benin and Togo.
Ireland’s foreign ministry said it had been in contact with the family of Mr Young as well as with European Union and Spanish colleagues.
It said “the situation is complex” and added that officials are working with “relevant actors on the ground”.
Spain’s prime minister Pedro Sanchez confirmed the “worst of news” and paid tribute to the journalists and recognised their “brave and essential” work in zones of conflict.
The Burkinabe government has reported an increase in violence elsewhere in the past 72 hours, with around 10 civilians killed in a spate of armed raids on villages.
Burkina Faso, like much of West Africa‘s Sahel region, faces a deepening security crisis as groups with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State step up attacks on the army and civilians despite the presence of French and UN forces.