ISIS has claimed it kidnapped and killed a Canadian geologist in Burkina Faso three months ago, according to the latest issue of the propaganda newsletter Al-Naba, circulated last week.
Halifax, Nova Scotia-based Kirk Woodman, vice-president of exploration for private gold explorer Progress Minerals, was found dead on Jan. 16 in rural Burkina Faso, after having been abducted a day earlier.
Woodman’s body was abandoned in the desert by “the Caliphate soldiers,” Al-Naba’s article said. The article noted he was executed on what in the Islamic calendar would be equivalent to Jan. 25 — several days after Woodman’s body was found, close to the borders with Mali and Niger.
Experts, including Menastream — a research and risk consultancy focused on the Middle East and North Africa — have assessed the ISIS publication as credible, especially as it included what appears to be a photo of Woodman’s driver’s license.
Security sources told Reuters on Wednesday that they believed the geologist actually died during a botched attempt by a criminal gang to sell him to another group.
The Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS), led by Abu Walid al Sahrawi, has claimed responsibility for several attacks in Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso since 2016.
Woodman was the ninth Canadian to be killed in the West African country since 2016. The others were claimed by the local al-Qaeda branch, but ISIS has been trying to establish itself in the region.