Two Moroccan cyclists, missing on the border between Burkina Faso and Niger, have been found safe and sound after being kidnapped in April, the Moroccan news agency MAP announced on May 14, 2023.
With our correspondent in Rabat, Nadia Ben Mahfoudh
Two Moroccan cyclists are now free after being kidnapped at the beginning of April at the border between Burkina Faso and Niger. Released on May 13, 2023, they are in Niamey for medical examinations before their repatriation to Morocco.
Leaving Morocco on January 19, Abderrahmane Serhani, a 65-year-old retired teacher, and Driss Fatihi, a 37-year-old trader, experienced cyclists and regulars on crossings, had the objective of making the Hajj by joining Mecca by bike.
They crossed Mauritania, skirted the Atlantic coast to arrive in Burkina Faso then in Niger, before going up towards the Arabian peninsula. According to the Association of Tourist Cyclists of Souss-Massa, to which the two men belong, ” they wanted to avoid Libya at all costs, thinking the Sahel safer, and had obtained the green light from Rabat “.
But at the end of March, once they arrived in Burkina Faso, they gave no further news in their logbook kept on Facebook.
The two cyclists are waiting to be repatriated to Agadir, their city of origin
No claims have been aired but this area has been plagued by violence from armed groups for several years, including the Support Group for Islam and Muslims, linked to al-Qaeda, and the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara. .
Very quickly, the families and the association mobilized on social networks and alerted the authorities. A month of cooperation between the security services of Morocco and Niger followed, which made it possible to locate and free the two cyclists.
Details are not known, but the two cyclists are in good health and awaiting repatriation to Agadir, their hometown.