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14 April 2024

Two French tourists kidnapped, local guide killed in Benin

Photo: AFP


Two French tourists have been kidnapped and their local guide was killed in Benin since the beginning of May, regional sources.
"Mauritanian and Malian sources confirm that the driver was found shot dead.

The vehicle carrying them was burned.

It was found less than a hundred kilometres from the border with Burkina Faso," according to FRANCE 24's correspondant in Benin, Emmanuelle Sodji.

"The two French nationals are being taken to Mali," she added.

Diplomatic and security sources confirmed on Friday that two French tourists and their guide had been missing in northwestern Benin for three days.

The French couple were expected to return to their hotel on Wednesday evening in Benin's Pendjari National Park, a remote area some 550 kilometres (340 miles) north of Benin's economic capital Cotonou.

They are being "actively sought" with the help of authorities in Benin, a source in France's foreign ministry said.

Benin is generally considered an island of stability in West Africa, a troubled region where many jihadist groups operate, but Pendjari lies on the porous and remote border with Burkina Faso, which has been hard hit by militant violence.

Pendjari, one of the largest remaining sites for elephants and lions in West Africa, is a vast area of 4,800 square kilometres but also part of a far larger wilderness area spreading into Burkina Faso and Niger to the north.