138801
137534

Canada  

Cdn shot dead in Africa

Government officials in Burkina Faso have confirmed a Canadian mining company employee has been found dead after being kidnapped in the west African country.

An official with the Ministry of Security says Kirk Woodman, a Halifax man who worked for the Vancouver-based Progress Mineral Mining Company, was found dead late Wednesday in Oudalan province.

Jean Paul Badoum said from Ouagadougou, the country's capital, that the body was found with bullet wounds.

Badoum said Woodman was kidnapped by armed gunmen from a mining camp, but officials have not yet identified the kidnappers.

He said no group has taken responsibility for the kidnapping.

Badoum said the body was found alone.

Acadia University professor Sandra Barr said in an email late Wednesday that Woodman was quite well-known among geologists in Nova Scotia, where he was based, and had worked in Africa for decades.

"He was very passionate about the work that he was doing there," she said.

David Duncan, a veteran exploration geologist based in Windsor, N.S., said he worked with Woodman on projects in Nova Scotia and overseas for more than four decades.

In an interview Wednesday, he described Woodman as a talented geologist — part of a wider community of Nova Scotia-trained geologists who helped find mines around the globe. He had the ability to tell whether a good prospect could become a producing mine, he said.

Duncan and Woodman worked for Etruscan Resources of Halifax on some of the first gold mines in Niger and then Burkina Faso — as part of a close-knit group of Canadian geologists who were pioneering the development of mines in western Africa.

He said working as an exploration geologist in western Africa always had its dangers, ranging from the risk of traffic accidents to contracting diseases such as malaria, but Duncan said in recent years the risk increased with the rise of Islamic militancy.

"It's a terrible thing, a terrible thing. We understood since the Canadian diplomat Robert Fowler was kidnapped in Niger that part of the world had changed ... with the introduction of Islamic fundamentalists into that part of the world," he said.

"It's gotten to be a much harder place... We were never worried about being kidnapped. Today, it's a different world."

The news comes soon after a 34-year-old Quebec tourist and her travelling companion were reported missing in the west African nation.

Sherbrooke native Edith Blais and her Italian friend Luca Tacchetto were travelling by car in southwestern Burkina Faso when all communication with their families abruptly ended Dec. 15.

A statement by Security Minister Clement Sawadogo referred to the disappearance of Blais and Tacchetto as a kidnapping.

West Africa's Sahel region has seen a number of abductions of foreigners in recent years by extremists linked to al-Qaida or the Islamic State organization.

Burkina Faso recently declared a state of emergency in the region as attacks by Islamic extremists increased, especially along the border with Niger and Mali.

Sawadogo said foreigners should use extreme caution when travelling in dangerous areas of the country.



More Canada News

Canada
132841
Parliament Hill
Parliament Hill Webcam
56309
Recent Trending
137720
Soft 103.9
138627
Castanet Proud Member of RTNDA Canada
137970



136114
137834