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September 27, 2020

Romanian kidnapped in Burkina Faso is alive. Terrorists’ video recording confirmed by MAE

The al-Mourabitoune terrorist group published on Saturday a video showing Romanian hostage Iulian Ghergut, a security guard kidnapped on April 4 in northern Burkina Faso, calling on the authorities to negotiate with the kidnappers in order to secure his release.
The video, which lasts less than a minute, is the first sign of life from the Romanian hostage since he was kidnapped on April 4 near a manganese mine in Tambao, RFI informs.
The images show Iulian Ghergut surrounded by three armed men. The message was recorded outdoors and the 39-year-old hostage is speaking French.
Iulian Ghergut introduces himself and says that he is being held by al-Mourabitoune in Tambao, in northern Burkina Faso. He points out that the message was recorded on August 18.
In the video message a bearded Ghergut is seen asking for the Romanian Government’s help in order to be released. Romania’s Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE) has confirmed the Romanian’s identity, also pointing out that he is “in good health.”
MAE confirms that the man seen in the video is Iulian Ghergut. The case has been discussed within the Supreme Defence Council too, a crisis management cell being organized for his release.
The inter-institutional crisis management cell that focuses on the situation of the Romanian citizen kidnapped in Burkina Faso (a cell that includes the MAE, the Foreign Intelligence Service, the Romanian Intelligence Service, the Defence Ministry and the Presidential Administration) has taken note of the video posted on Saturday and has confirmed that the hostage seen in the video is the Romanian citizen concerned, a MAE communiqué shows.
“The inter-institutional crisis cell has convened as soon as the video became public, has analyzed various scenarios and has examined the possible actions needed in order to solve the case. The inter-institutional crisis management cell is urgently studying the authenticity of the video concerned. At the same time, the inter-institutional crisis management cell confirms that the person seen in the video is the Romanian citizen concerned. In case the veracity of the video is confirmed, it can be considered that the material reconfirms the data that the crisis management cell already had, data according to which the Romanian citizen is alive and in good health,” the communiqué shows.
The Romanian citizen’s family has been informed about the posting of the video, MAE points out.
“In case the authenticity of the video is confirmed, the inter-institutional crisis management cell points out that the launch of such a message in the public space is part of the usual pattern seen in situations of this kind. The crisis management cell also points out that, considering the specificity of this operation of authentication, the verification procedures could take some time. The inter-institutional crisis management cell will continue its effort, through its member institutions, in line with the competencies of each of them, to obtain the release of the Romanian citizen,” the communiqué shows.
Thus, the crisis management cell convened by MAE on April 4 is working permanently in order to manage the situation. Alongside MAE, which acts on all diplomatic channels available and manages the public relations component, the Romanian authorities with prerogatives in the national security domain (SIE, SRI, MoD) are exerting all efforts in order to obtain the Romanian citizen’s release. Each institution employs specific instruments and methods of action, in line with its competencies, the communiqué points out.
The crisis management cell will continue its activity in the same format and will continue to collaborate with Romania’s international partners. Under its coordination, the Romanian diplomatic missions in the region are in permanent contact with the relevant local authorities. Likewise, the representatives of the crisis management cell remain in contact with the company for which the Romanian worked, as well as with the family of the Romanian citizen, stiripesurse.ro informs.
MAE reiterates its recommendation that the public handling of elements concerning this case should be made with all caution, given the case’s specific and sensitive nature.

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