Benin’s Ministry of Interior confirmed that a local guide for two French tourists who disappeared while on safari last week was found shot dead.
The three disappeared on Wednesday in Pendjari National Park, which borders Burkina Faso where Islamist militants have been increasingly active in recent months.
Communiqué du Ministre de l'intérieur et de la sécurité publique relatif à l'identification du corps retrouvé samedi 4 mai 2019 dans la partie septentrionale du #Bénin.
Condoléances du gouvernement et du peuple béninois à sa famille et à ses proches.#wasexo #Benindiplomatie pic.twitter.com/NiErRvcGzJ
— Gouvernement du Bénin (@gouvbenin) May 5, 2019
The rented Ford SUV in which they were last seen traveling was also found burnt in eastern Burkina Faso, according to a local official and a regional security source.
The officials added that the fate of both tourists is unknown.
Authorities from Benin and France are investigating the incident.
Benin is considered a peaceful country in West Africa and, therefore, the disappearances and death mark a rare incident of violence. Jihadist groups with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State have used local grievances to stoke violence and gain influence in the region.
France has previously warned citizens against traveling to parts of north-west Benin near the Burkina Faso border due to the risk of kidnapping.
Islamic extremists have expanded their reach in Burkina Faso and there are fears they are infiltrating the north of Benin and neighbouring Togo.