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Gunmen abduct Canadian mining exec in Burkina Faso

A Canadian national was kidnapped by a dozen gunmen on a site owned by Progress Minerals Inc. near northern Burkina Faso's border with Niger, Reuters wrote Jan. 16, citing Burkina Faso security minister Clement Sawadogo.

The victim, identified as Kirk Woodman, serves as vice president of exploration for Progress Minerals. Company CEO Adam Spencer confirmed to CBC News that Woodman is based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, but refused to comment further.

Meanwhile, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said the government is aware of the incident and is working with Burkina Faso authorities.

Sawadogo noted that a Canadian man and an Italian woman went missing earlier in the month. "We have alerted our entire security presence to find these people," he said.

The country is facing increased activity by Islamist militants and has declared a state of emergency in several northern provinces since Dec. 31, 2018.

Woodman was kidnapped in an area that the government has warned is under increasing threat from jihadist attacks.