Que­bec woman and travel com­pan­ion feared miss­ing in Burk­ina Faso, fam­ily says

Sherbrooke Record - - LOCAL NEWS -

AThe Cana­dian Press

Que­bec woman who was trav­el­ling in Burk­ina Faso with a friend hasn't been heard from in three weeks and is feared miss­ing, her fam­ily said Sat­ur­day.

Sher­brooke na­tive Edith Blais and her Ital­ian friend Luca Tac­chetto were trav­el­ling in the West African na­tion when all com­mu­ni­ca­tion with their fam­i­lies “abruptly stopped'' on Dec. 15, her sis­ter Melanie Berg­eron Blais said.

“There was no more com­mu­ni­ca­tion with any­one, no more fi­nan­cial trans­ac­tions ei­ther from her ac­count since Dec. 11,'' she said in a phone in­ter­view.

“She didn't spend to eat, for a ho­tel, there's noth­ing at all,'' she said. “They've com­pletely dis­ap­peared into the void.''

The pair were last seen in the city of Bobo-dioulasso, in the coun­try's south­west, and had planned to drive to the cap­i­tal of Oua­gadougou be­fore cross­ing into neigh­bour­ing Togo, the fam­ily said.

How­ever, there's no in­di­ca­tion that the pair ap­plied for visas or crossed the bor­der into ei­ther Ghana or Togo, Berg­eron Blais said.

Berg­eron Blais de­scribed her 34-yearold sis­ter as an ad­ven­tur­ous and ex­pe­ri­enced trav­eller.

She said both Blais and Tac­chetto, 30, were in the habit of check­ing in with the fam­i­lies ev­ery cou­ple of days.

“At first we gave her a lit­tle slack, telling our­selves 'she's a trav­eller, she's a bit bo­hemian,' and it's pos­si­ble that she just didn't give us news for a few days,'' Berg­eron Blais said.

“But by (Dec) 29th or 30th, we knew some­thing wasn't right.''

The gov­ern­ment of Canada's web­site rec­om­mends avoid­ing all non-es­sen­tial travel to the coun­try due to the threat of ter­ror­ism, ban­ditry and kid­nap­ping.

Blais' fam­ily has started a Face­book page and are grate­ful for the help they've re­ceived so far, in­clud­ing from a Que­be­cer in Burk­ina Faso who is trav­el­ling in per­son to dif­fer­ent bor­der cross­ings to ask about Blais.

Global Af­fairs Canada said con­sular of­fi­cials are reach­ing out to lo­cal au­thor­i­ties in Burk­ina Faso to fol­low up on re­ports of a miss­ing Cana­dian.

Berg­eron Blais, how­ever, said she hasn't yet been con­tacted by the Cana­dian gov­ern­ment, and that Ital­ian au­thor­i­ties ap­pear to be work­ing much more quickly to lo­cate the pair.

Luca Tac­chetto and Edith Blais are seen in this un­dated hand­out photo from the Face­book page “Edith Blais et Luca Tac­chetto : dis­pari­tion au Burk­ina Faso.” THE CANA­DIAN PRESS/HO, Face­book

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