Updated: Wednesday, May 26, 2021 12:44 PM
Posted on: 26.05.2021 12:43
Together until the end. This is what the investigation into the murder of Spanish journalists David Beriain and Roberto Fraile with Irish Rory Young in Burkina Faso reveals. A report to which El País had access.
Just today marks a fatal outcome month. From what they say, Fraile was seriously injured. Overwhelmed by the firepower and numerical superiority of the jihadists, the Burkinabè military warned the West that they could not hold out for long and that they had to withdraw. But Beriain and Young refused to leave their partner and stayed with him. These are the conclusions of the investigators after having interviewed several survivors to reconstruct the last hours of the reporters.
The bodies were found the next morning with clear evidence of their execution.
The convoy of Roberto Fraile and David Beriain had left the region of Natiaboani, in the province of Gourma (Burkina Faso) at 9 am to shoot a documentary on the protection of elephants and poaching. They were accompanied by 38 other people, including environmental officers and a military security escort. They were divided into two vans and a dozen motorcycles.
60 kilometers away, in Pama, they stopped to record and take pictures with a drone. It was then, on a dirt road, with potholes, surrounded by jungle and at the height of the nature reserve, that the convoy suffered the jihadist attack.
A Burkinabé soldier who was part of the defense patrol told the French correspondent of the Ouest-France newspaper that the fighting had lasted more than three hours.
Other witnesses, such as a Swiss citizen of Rory Young’s NGO who was on patrol and managed to escape, told investigators, according to El País, that the patrol initially managed to repel the assault. jihadists, but attacked them from three flanks with heavy weapons, such as the Soviet PKMS machine guns, and the Burkinabè had to retreat when ammunition was low.
From what they say, the three Westerners, who were in one of the pickups, had disembarked and Fraile was seriously injured. The military urged Beriain and Young to flee, leaving their partner behind, but they did not want to do so and stayed with him.
A different version from that proposed by the Burkinabé interviewed by the French correspondent, according to which the three Westerners lost track after entering the forest. After an intensive search with helicopters, the Burkinabè army located the bodies the next day.
Investigation assumes the attack was the work of the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (JNIM), a federation of jihadist groups led by terrorist Iyad Ag Ghali and linked to Al Qaeda, which operates in Mali. and in neighboring Burkina Faso. and claimed it via audio. The group also claimed to have captured the two trucks with machine guns, the motorcycles and the drone carried by the attacked patrol.
This group regularly uses kidnappings to demand ransoms, but the question investigators are asking themselves in this case is why on this occasion they chose to murder them. A question that cannot be answered yet.
The truth is, there are still unknowns to be solved. It was also not specified whether the bodies were found at the scene of the fight or whether the jihadists initially took them with them. And although the Burkinabé army launched an offensive against jihadist groups in early May, there is as yet no news that any of those involved in the Beriain and Fraile murder were capture.