Six people were injured in the ambush on the convoy on Monday, and a Burkinabe soldier was still missing on Tuesday evening. The fate of the others in the convoy, and the identities of those who carried out the killings, remained unclear.
The eastern parts of Burkina Faso, particularly around the city of Fada-Ngourma near the reserve where the journalists were abducted, have been a perilous area because of the armed groups operating there over the past few years.
Last year was the deadliest for militant Islamist violence in the region, according to the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, a U.S. Defense Department research institution. About 4,250 people were killed — a 60 percent increase over 2019 — with the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara linked to more than half of the deaths.
On Tuesday, the United Nations said a record 29 million people were in need of humanitarian assistance and protection in six countries of the region, among them Burkina Faso and Chad, where the killing of the president, Idriss Déby, last week could further destabilize the region.
Mr. Déby, who had a poor human rights record, was a key figure in regional efforts to fight off Islamist insurgents in alliance with French and African forces. About 1,200 Chadian troops were deployed this year in the border area between Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, where Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has made significant strides.
In Burkina Faso, violence has fueled a fast-growing displacement crisis, with more than a million people fleeing their homes since 2019, according to the United Nations’ humanitarian affairs body. Three million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, in a country with a population of 20 million.
In addition to violence from militants, Burkina Faso’s military has killed growing numbers of civilians, sometimes in proportions similar to those killed by Islamic insurgents, according to rights groups and analysts.