Burkina Faso militant group releases Romanian hostage after 8 years

The foreign ministry announced on Wednesday that a Romanian security officer who was abducted from a manganese mining project in Burkina Faso in 2015 has been liberated and safely repatriated to Romania.

Iulian Ghergut, who was 39 years old at the time, was abducted by unknown gunmen from the Tambao manganese mining project in northern Burkina Faso. He was working in a security capacity near the border with Mali.

The kidnapping was later claimed by the Islamist militant group Al-Mourabitoun, with a spokesperson for the group stating that they had presented conditions to Romania for his release.

“He has been released and is now safely on Romanian territory,” the ministry said in a statement, adding it was thanking “all foreign partners, particularly Moroccan authorities for the important support given to solve this extremely complicated case.”

The Sahel region of West Africa, where Ghergut was abducted, has experienced significant upheaval, including a military coup in Niger in late July, alongside military overthrows in neighboring countries such as Mali, Burkina Faso, and Chad since 2020.

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