Burkina Faso death: woman wants to see her husband’s body before she’ll believe it

2019-07-30 10:32
Christo Bothma and his wife Amanda. (Photo: Supplied)

Christo Bothma and his wife Amanda. (Photo: Supplied)

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Christo Bothma from Potchefstroom in North West, who disappeared in West Africa 10 months ago, has died, according to information received by Gift of the Givers.

But his wife, Amanda, says there are more questions than answers surrounding her husband's disappearance.

Amanda (50) spoke to YOU by telephone on Monday morning. Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, founder of the South African humanitarian organisation, had sent her a text on Saturday, July 27 saying that her 53-year-old husband had died in June, she says.

But there's nothing to substantiate that this is indeed the case.

"Bring his body home, then I'll believe it," Amanda told Sooliman.

Christo, a fitter and turner, started working at Inata Mine in Burkina Faso in June 2018. Three months later, the mining company notified Amanda that he was abducted on Sunday, September 23.

Christo, the mine manager's son and a driver were on their way to a nearby town for supplies when they were ambushed. Their abandoned vehicle was found 20km from the Mali border, in the north of the country. There was no indication what had happened to the three men.

Christo's son Jacques (25) told YOU a West African offshoot of terrorist group al-Qaeda is believed to be responsible for his father's abduction.

Sooliman says he received word from two West African contacts on Saturday that Christo had died in June.

"We still don't know how, exactly when and under what circumstances – but both these contacts are extremely reliable," he said.

Gift of the Givers will be sending a negotiator to the contacts in an attempt to get more information, and for evidence of Christo's death.

Amanda says she's grappling with several questions.

If Christo is dead, did he die of natural causes or was he murdered? Why haven't the terrorists claimed responsibility for his death on social media, as such groups often do? Why was the family never contacted for a ransom? And the biggest question of all: Why were the men not accompanied by a protection detail on the day of their abduction?

"Whenever someone leaves the mine's premises, even just for a kilometre, they're always accompanied by security personnel. Why not on that day?"

Christo's daughter Mariska (20) also refuses to believe that her father has died.

Amanda says she's waiting for proof of her husband's passing and is going through an emotional time.

"If he's dead, his body must be brought back to Potchefstroom to be buried where his people are. He can't be left in a strange country where there's no one that loves him."

On Monday morning, less than 15 hours after receiving word of her husband's death, Amanda is back at work as a secretary in a Potchefstroom legal firm. Though clearly emotional, she says there was no way she could stay at home alone doing nothing. She needs to keep occupied.

Read more on:    burkina faso  |  west africa  |  crime
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