Romania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Luminita Odobescu expressed her profound gratitude as she announced the successful release of a Romanian citizen who had been kidnapped and held for eight years in Burkina Faso.
“Happy to announce that after many efforts we have succeeded in bringing home the citizen from #BurkinaFaso,” Odobescu posted on X today, adding: “I am grateful for all the hard work done by the inter-institutional task force & the support of all our partners, particularly authorities!”
Iulian Ghergut, a Romanian security official was abducted from a manganese mining venture in Burkina Faso back in 2015
Ghergut was 39 years old at the time of his abduction by unidentified gunmen at the Tambao manganese mining project located in the northern region of Burkina Faso, close to the border with Mali.
A terrorist group linked to Al Qaeda, called Al-Mourabitoun, later claimed responsibility for the abduction and kept him captive for eight years.
A spokesperson for the group stated that they had presented conditions to Romania in exchange for Ghergut’s freedom.
This is not the first time Morocco has been involved in the repatriation of a foreign citizen from the Sahel region.
In December 2022, the German press reported that activist Jörg Lange had been freed thanks to Moroccan intelligence services operating in Mali.
Running the NGO Help in Niger, the German activist and his driver had been kidnapped in April 2018 by motorcyclists on the border with Mali.