(File photo) Protesters gather around an army vehicle as they demonstrate in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso (File photo) Protesters gather around an army vehicle as they demonstrate in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso  (AFP or licensors)

Burkina Faso: 50 women kidnapped as crisis worsens

Around 50 women have been kidnapped in Burkina Faso's Sahel region, as insurgents continue to make living conditions unbearable.

By Vatican News staff writer

At least 50 women have been abducted by suspected insurgents in Burkina Faso’s northern Sahel region.

The women were said to have been kidnapped between 12-13 January, while searching for fruit a few kilometres away from their village.

Rodolphe Sorgho, the Sahel governor, announced the development in a statement on Monday.

“The Governor of the Sahel region brings to the attention of the public that on January 12 and 13, 2023, about fifty women were respectively kidnapped by terrorist armed groups at about 15 kilometres from Aribinda (village of Liki) and in another locality located next to West of Aribinda, in the province of Soum,” the statement reads.

“While they had gone out in search of wild fruits, these wives, mothers and daughters were unfairly taken by armed men," he said. "As soon as their disappearance was reported, research was undertaken in order to find all of these innocent victims safe and sound.”

Long-running insurgency

Burkina Faso is one of several countries in West Africa battling insurgency.

Amid the failure of successive governments to effectively curb insurgency, the country experienced two military coups in 2022, causing political instability.

Violence linked to Islamic extremism has resulted in the deaths of thousands of persons, while more than 2.7 million people have been displaced across the Sahel, where the insecurity has affected agriculture and contributed to rising hunger levels.

Many parts of the country have been cut off and are controlled by insurgents in recent months, causing acute food shortages, and becoming increasingly dangerous to deliver supplies to citizens.

Relatives of the missing women told Reuters that the victims were scouring the surrounding bush for food because there was no longer enough to feed their families in the village.

The Sahel region governor expressed his solidarity with the families of the victims, and said the public authorities would “stick to their sides in these particularly difficult times and remain committed to implementing a happy outcome of the situation”.

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17 January 2023, 14:50