Burkina Faso kidnapping – Five suspected Malian Tuareg militants attacked and kidnapped a Romanian security manager near Burkina Faso’s Tambao manganese mine, owned by Pan African Minerals on 4 April.
This is according to the latest ENS Business in Africa newsletter brief. There has been no further update on the situation or process made in recovering the security manager.
Pan African Minerals is a subsidiary of the Israeli Frank Timis Group.
One police officer and a driver were shot and injured. Local media reported the security manager was moved across the northern Burkinabé border with the Malian militants towards the Malian town of Gao, which lies at the south western edge of Tuareg territorial control.
In response, Burkinabé security forces conducted search operations along the border region but were unsuccessful. Although no ransom has yet been demanded by the suspected militants, previous kidnappings of Dutch and French nationals in the Sahel region have commanded ransom payments up to USD$1 million.
French Special Forces successfully rescued a Dutch national on 6 April who was kidnapped in Mali during 2011.
According to previous reports, Pan African Minerals received permission from the Burkina Faso government for the development of a Tambao manganese project around May last year.
The mine, which is located north of Burkina Faso near the Niger and Mali border, is estimated to have more than 100 million tonnes of manganese, which is used in the production of steel.
Pan African Minerals had won exploration rights for the project in 2012, and it received the exploitation permit after two years.
According to a Bloomberg report, protesters in February smashed equipment and set fire to vehicles at the $1 billion Tambao mine.
They accused the company running the mine, having unlawfully obtained a permit to develop the deposit. The government ordered production halted in March while it investigates how the license was awarded.