Australian couple kidnapped in northern Burkina Faso

Two Australian citizens kidnapped in Burkina Faso after attack on Splendid hotel

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Soldiers are seen outside the Splendid Hotel in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, January 16, 2016.

Burkina Faso's Communications Minister Remi Dandjinou said on Saturday that an Australian couple were kidnapped in the country's north, correcting an interior ministry statement earlier saying that they were Austrian.

The couple were kidnapped in the city of Baraboule, near the west African country's border with Niger and Mali.

There were contradicting reports whether they were living in Burkina Faso or were there as tourists. Some of sources say the couple were doing volunteer work.

According to previous information about the couple they are an Australian male doctor and his wife.

There is no information on whether the kidnapping was linked to an attack carried out by Al Qaeda militants against a hotel in the country's capital late on Friday.

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) claimed responsibility for the hotel attack that killed 27 people from 18 different nationalities on the Splendid Hotel in the capital city, Ouagadougou, on Friday night.

Security forces freed more than 120 hostages, including at least 33 wounded, from the hotel, after militants took control of the five-storey building popular with UN staff and foreigners. Dozens of French forces arrived overnight from neighbouring Mali to aid in the rescue.

The hotel is reportedly sometimes used by French troops with Operation Barkhane, a force based in Chad and set up to combat militants across Africa's vast, arid Sahel region.

The French Embassy in Ouagadougou had issued a statement on its website telling its citizens not to go outside and said it was setting up a crisis unit. Burkina Faso gained independence from France in 1960 and France has up to 200 special forces troops in the country.

TRTWorld and agencies