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Mali, Luca Tacchetto and Edith Blais Freed. Kidnapped 15 Months Ago in Burkina Faso

As reported by The New York Times, after 15 months of captivity, Luca Tacchetto and his Canadian travelling companion Edith Blais were released in Mali. At this time, there are no official confirmations and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is verifying the news with the Crisis Unit.

Luca Tacchetto, 30, and Edith Blais, 34, went missing on 15 December 2018 while traveling in Burkina Faso on a route that had taken them through many European and African countries. Before arriving in Burkina Faso, where they vanished, they had traveled through Morocco, Mauritania and Mali. According to the information available, Blais had last spoken with her family on 13 December 2018, two days before Tacchetto had published a post on his Facebook page with pictures from Bobo-Dioulasso in Burkina Faso.

Before news from them stopped arriving, they regularly updated their travels. They were planning to go to Togo to work with Zion Gaia, a project for reforesting the tropical forest.

In January 2019, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed that, according to sources, Edith Blais was still alive. The PM did not, however, provide further information about search and rescue operations nor any ransom requests from the kidnappers.

During that same time, sources from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stressed that the Ministry had intervened “from the beginning with local authorities in order to carry out the necessary search operations.”

According to a report issued in April 2019 by Human Rights Watch (HRW) called “Atrocities by Armed Islamists and Security Forces in Burkina Faso”, Tacchetto and Blais were believed to be abducted in the country and then taken to Mali by Jihadists.

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