After news of her disappearance recently, it's been revealed that a Canadian woman missing in Burkina Faso ignored government travel advisories. Despite the government advising Canadians to avoid all travel to Mali and parts of Burkina Faso, Edith Blais and her Italian friend, Luca Tacchetto travelled through those dangerous areas recently. Now their family and friends have not heard from them since December 15th.
Edith Blais, who is from Sherbrooke, Quebec, last posted travel photos on her Facebook page in mid-December from Burkina Faso. The pair seemed very happy in the photos and Blais' sister says they weren't worried about any potential danger.
The Government of Canada, however, was very aware of potential dangers. In fact, they have a still active travel advisory for Burkina Faso advising that Canadians avoid non-essential travel there with regional advisories for areas the pair would have travelled through to avoid all travel, the highest level of advisory the government can give.
The warnings from the government come from the ongoing threat of terrorism and violence in the country. Burkina Faso is home to many active terrorist groups and because of that f random car-jacking, banditry, and kidnapping are high.
The warnings aren't new, either. In fact, a travel advisory for Burkina Faso has been in place since at least early 2016. This came after a large number of foreigners, including six people from Quebec, were killed in a targeted attack in the country's capital city.
None the less, Edith Blais and her travel partner ignored the warnings and now the government fears they may have paid the price for it. Canada is now treating the case as a potential kidnapping.
The government also confirmed that they are working with consular officials in Burkina Faso and also with local authorities there to try to learn more about the two missing travellers.
Unfortunately for the government, this isn't the first time their warnings have been ignored, in fact, it's a regular occurrence. According to Gar Pardy, the former director of consular affairs in Canada, more often than not Canadians don't care about travel advisories at all.
In speaking with CBC, he said that it doesn't matter what the advisories say, "there are thousands and thousands of Canadians who get themselves in all kinds of trouble around the world."
Edith Blais's potential kidnapping is one horrible and extreme example of this. Blais and her travel partner, Luca Tacchetto haven't been heard from since December 15th. There has been no sign of them leaving Burkina Faso or staying anywhere in the country.