Six Western hostages held in Sahel
An American nun kidnapped by unidentified men in Burkina Faso overnight brings to at least six the number of Western hostages known to be held in the Sahel region, a hotbed of jihadists.
Romanian mineworker Iulian Ghergut was grabbed by armed men in Burkina Faso on April 4, 2015. He had been working in a manganese mine near the border with Mali and Niger.
His kidnapping was claimed by Al-Qaeda-linked Islamist group Al-Mourabitoun prominent in the Sahel.
The then 82-year-old Australian surgeon was kidnapped in Burkina Faso on January 15, 2016 with his wife Jocelyn by the jihadist group Ansar Dine. Jocelyn Elliott was freed a month later.
On the third anniversary of her husband's captivity, she sent a message to his captors asking for his release, which she repeated in May 2020.
American aid worker Jeffery Woodke was kidnapped in the central Niger town of Abalak on October 14, 2016 where he had been working for an NGO. He is now believed to be in Mali.
Niger's then-president Mahamadou Issoufou said in September 2019 that Woodke was alive and in good health.
German aid worker Jorg Lange was kidnapped on April 11, 2018 in western Niger and taken to the north, not far from the border with Mali.
In 2018 during a visit to Paris Issoufou said Lange was alive.
French journalist Olivier Dubois appeared in a short video on social media in 2021 saying he had been abducted in Gao, central Mali on April 8 by the Group to Support Islam and Muslims (GSIM), the biggest jihadist alliance in the Sahel.
A new unauthenticated video circulating on social networks in March 2022 appears to show him, apparently in good health, urging the French government to "continue to do its best" to obtain his release.
An 83-year-old American nun is kidnapped overnight April 5 in the north of Burkina Faso by unidentified armed men, her diocese says.
The abduction has not been claimed.
It is the first time in more than a year that a Westerner has been targeted in Burkina Faso.
In April 2021, three Europeans who had been reported missing after an attack in eastern Burkina - two Spaniards and an Irishman - were "executed by terrorists," the authorities said at the time.