The authorities in Burkina Faso have announced the disappearance of about 50 women in the north of the country, after they were kidnapped by suspected jihadists.
The kidnapping took place on Thursday and Friday in the Sahel region, but it took time for the news to come out due to a siege imposed by extremist Islamic groups on the region.
BBC Africa reporter Will Ross quoted the residents of Arbinda as saying that the women had gone out to gather wild vegetables and fruits due to an acute food shortage in the area.
Residents of the town said that Islamist militants had kidnapped 40 women on Thursday and another 20 on Friday. A few women managed to escape.
And the French Press Agency quoted a resident of the town as saying that the women left with their carriages on Thursday.
“When the women didn’t come back until Thursday evening, we thought something had happened to their carriage. But three survivors came back to tell what happened,” he said.
The same source reported that the next day, Friday, 20 women were kidnapped eight kilometers north of the town, as they were not aware of the kidnapping that took place the previous day.
Officials confirmed the kidnapping, and added that the army, in cooperation with civilians, conducted unsuccessful searches of the area.
Arbinda, located in the Sahel region in northern Burkina Faso, witnessed a large-scale rebellion by the jihadists, who blocked entry and exit routes from the town.
Its residents suffer from severe hunger, and protesters stormed warehouses to obtain food.
Burkina Faso has been suffering from attacks by extremist organizations since 2015. Thousands of civilians and members of the security services have been killed.
The United Nations reported that 1.7 million people have been displaced in one of the world’s poorest countries as a result of the insurgency.
Army officers carried out two coups last year, expressing their anger at the failure to confront the rebellion of extremist Islamic organizations.
The north of the country also witnessed an attack in June 2021, which killed about 100 people.
At the time, no one claimed responsibility for the attack, but militant Islamist attacks are common in the country.