On January 8th, four humanitarians from Springfield left for Burkina Faso in western Africa.
“So they’re over there doing good things, and apparently came close to harm’s way,” says Mike Brothers, a Drury University spokesperson.
The four are members of ‘For Burkina Faso’, were identified as Ben Hall, Brittany Layton, and Will Stone, who are all Drury Alumni and Olivia Snell, who is a current Drury architecture student.
The group which is a Springfield-based non-profit is a group of architects is dedicated to designing, funding, and building schools in the impoverished African nation.
Dury says the trip was not officially connected to the university, but many in the Drury community support the effort individually.
“These are all bright people wanting to make a difference in the world, use their skills for good on this humanitarian trip, and I think they really exemplify the best of Drury and the Ozarks,” says Brothers.
The four were in Ouagadougou, the capital city of Burkina Faso, when Friday night, an Al Qaeda-linked terrorist group attacked a luxury hotel there.
“We also know for sure they were not staying at this hotel,” says Brothers.
The French ambassador said 27 were dead and early Saturday morning, security forces freed 126 hostages.
“I do not know for sure how close they may or may not have been to the action so to speak,” says Brothers.
On Saturday, ‘For Burkina’s facebook page had this statement: “Everyone on the For Burkina team that was in the country is safe and accounted for. Nobody from the group has been harmed and they are arranging their trip back to the United States.”
Other members of the organization in Springfield declined an interview.
A parent of one of the team members tells KY3 the four are already out of Burkina Faso and on their way home.
“So extremely grateful to know that they are safe because again, they’re over there to do something really good in the world,” says Brothers.
The group ‘For Burkina Faso’ tells KY3 it will be able to say much more in the coming days.