MADRID — A plane carrying the bodies of three Europeans killed by jihadists in Burkina Faso this week while they were filming a documentary on wildlife poaching has landed in an airport near the Spanish capital.
The bodies were flown overnight from the capital of the African nation, Ouagadougou, on an Airbus provided by the Spanish military.
Two Spanish journalists, David Beriáin, 44, and Roberto Fraile, 47, and an Irish conservationist, Rory Young, were killed Monday when the anti-poaching patrol they were on with a special military wildlife force was ambushed by jihadists in eastern Burkina Faso.
One Burkinabe soldier is still missing and six others are wounded.
The journalists were making a documentary on how Burkina Faso’s authorities are tackling poaching, also focusing on the communities of people living in the park. Young, the director of the Chengeta Wildlife Foundation, was leading the patrol in the country’s Arly National Park, said a statement by the group on Facebook.
Two soldiers wounded in the attack said they tried to protect the foreigners during fighting that lasted three hours, but were outnumbered by the jihadists. The soldiers insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
Burkina Faso has been overrun by attacks linked to Islamic extremists that have killed thousands and displaced more than 1 million people.
Spanish officials and relatives of the Spanish journalists were awaiting the coffins at a military airport on the outskirts of Madrid. An honor guard of two dozen soldiers was expected to carry the coffins.
Mednick reported from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.