World

ISIS claim in killing of Canadian geologist Woodman met with skepticism

Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed to have kidnapped and killed a Canadian citizen in Burkina Faso in January, but security sources said they believed he actually died during a botched attempt by a criminal gang to sell him on to another group.

ISIS newsletter names a date of Woodman's killing, but it was several days after the body was found

Kirk Woodman was abducted in January from a mine in Burkina Faso. (LinkedIn)

Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed to have kidnapped and killed a Canadian citizen in Burkina Faso in January, but security sources said they believed he actually died during a botched attempt by a criminal gang to sell him on to another group.

Canadian geologist Kirk Woodman's body was found on Jan. 16, two days after his abduction by a dozen gunmen at a mining site operated by Vancouver-based Progress Minerals in the northeast of the landlocked West African country.

Burkina Faso officials said he had been shot, and his body was dumped in an area that is under growing threat from Islamist militants, some with links to ISIS and al-Qaeda.

In an article trumpeting ISIS's insurgencies in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso, the group's weekly Al-Naba newspaper detailed an operation to kidnap and kill Woodman and showed a photograph of what it claimed was his driver's licence.

The ISIS newspaper said "the kidnapping and killing of a Canadian crusader" has increased the West's interest in "the war of the Mujahideen" in Burkina Faso.

Two security sources in Burkina Faso, however, told Reuters that they thought Woodman was abducted by a criminal gang and killed as it tried to sell him on to presumed jihadists.

Woodman's body was left in the desert by "the Caliphate soldiers," Al-Naba said, though it put a date on Woodman's execution using the Islamic calendar that would equate to Jan. 25 — several days after the body was actually found.

Another Canadian, Edith Blais, and her Italian travelling companion have not been seen since Dec. 15, in southwestern Burkina Faso. They were reportedly headed to Togo to do volunteer work with an aid group.

Last week, citing interviews with Mali security sources, Human Rights Watch said in a report that it is believed the pair were abducted and taken to Mali.

With files from CBC News

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