French-Australian conservationist reportedly kidnapped in Chad
A Franco-Australian man who worked in wildlife conservation was reportedly kidnapped in Chad by unknown kidnappers.
Jérôme Hugonnot was working for the Sahara Conservation Fund in Wadi Fara province on the border with Sudan when he was kidnapped on Friday, according to several media outlets.
The ecologist is said to have run a conservation park in northeastern Chad, where the NGO is working to reintroduce the scimitar-horned oryx, a species of desert antelope.
A spokesperson for the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said he was aware of the reports and that the federal government was in contact with authorities in Chad and France.
“Due to our confidentiality obligations, we are unable to provide further details,” he said.
Wadi Fara province has seen organized crime and deadly violence on both sides of the border.
“We are aware of the kidnapping of a fellow countryman in Chad and are in contact with his family, as well as with the Chadian authorities, to obtain his swift release,” the Associated Press reported. declaration.
The Chadian government is said to have launched a search mission for Mr. Hugonnot, whose kidnappers have not yet been identified.
Chad is a landlocked semi-desert state in west-central Africa that has been ruled by a military junta since its former president Idriss Deby died in April last year after ruling for three decades.
At least 50 people were killed and nearly 300 injured during protests in Chad last week, while hundreds took to the streets to demand a faster transition to democracy.
Security forces fired on protesters in several cities, including the capital N’Djamena, on October 20, Human Rights Watch said.