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Romanian Hostage Freed From Burkina Faso After 8 Years in Captivity, Romania’s Foreign Ministry Says


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A Romanian citizen who was abducted in northeast Burkina Faso in 2015 where he was working at a mine, was released Wednesday, Romania’s foreign ministry said.

Iulian Ghergut, who was 39 years old when a militant group linked to al-Qaida captured him at a mine where he was working as a security officer, was released and is safe on Romanian soil, the ministry said in a statement.

The press release thanked “all external partners, especially the Moroccan authorities, for the important support given in order to solve this extremely complicated case.” It provided no further details.

Ghergut was the first hostage recorded in the West African nation since the early 2000s. His kidnapping in 2015 came at a time when extremist armed groups became active across the Sahel region of sub-Saharan Africa.

Fighters linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group have waged a violent insurgency in Burkina Faso for seven years. The violence has killed thousands of people and divided the country, leading to two coups last year.


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