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Benin tour guides mourn colleague, express fears for missing French tourists

Screengrab, France 24

Benin is reeling over the death of Fiacre Gbédji, a tour guide whose body was discovered Saturday. Gbédji went missing May 1 with two French tourists kidnapped in Pendjari National Park, some 550 km north of Cotonou. The tourists are still missing.

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Authorities found the four-wheel-drive Toyota that the guide and the pair of unnamed tourists were thought to have been travelling in just across the border in Burkina Faso, a security source told AFP on Sunday. The vehicle had been incinerated.

Pendjari is one of the largest remaining conservation regions for elephants and lions in West Africa, according to a park official. Benin, meanwhile, is known as one of Africa’s most tourist-friendly destinations.

FRANCE 24 went to meet some of Gbédji’s fellow guides near Cotonou as they grieve for their friend and worry about their own safety going forward. Our correspondents Emmanuelle Sodji, Raphael N’Tale, Salima Belhadj and Emerald Maxwell compiled this report.

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