Sorgho said more than 50 women were taken on Thursday and Friday around Arbinda, in an area under blockade by jihadist groups and dependent on food supplies from outside. “While they were out looking for wild fruit, these wives, mothers and girls were wrongfully taken by armed men,” the governor said.
Security forces are searching for at least 50 women that were abducted by suspected Islamist extremists in Burkina Faso’s insurgency-hit northern Sahel region, a regional governor said Monday, January 16.
The women were kidnapped on January 12-13 while in the countryside gathering wild fruit near the town of Arbinda in Soum province, Lt. Col. P.F. Rodolphe Sorgho, the governor of Sahel, said in a statement. Several women managed to escape and return to their villages to raise the alarm. “As soon as their disappearance was announced, efforts were launched to find all of these innocent victims safe and sound,” Sorgho added. “All means available are being used, in the air and on the ground, to find these women,” a security source told the media. “Aircraft are flying over the area to detect any suspect movement.”
Burkina Faso has been overrun by jihadi violence linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group, whose militants killed thousands, displacing nearly 2 million people in the West African nation. The failure of successive governments to stop the fighting has caused widespread discontent and triggered two military coups in 2022 to seize power.
A total of 116 security incidents were recorded during the second week of this month only, according to an internal report for aid groups, which represents more than 60% increase compared to the last week of December 2022. According to local officials, the army and civilian auxiliaries had carried out unsuccessful sweeps of the area.
Since 2015, it has battled an insurgency led by jihadists affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group that has killed thousands and displaced around two million people. “It’s the first really big kidnapping since the security crisis began,” a senior officer close to armed forces headquarters said.
“Everything must be done to avoid a tragedy or a recurrence.” Civilians have often been targeted in Arbinda and surrounding areas. In August 2021, 80 people, including 65 civilians were killed in an attack on a convoy taking them to Arbinda. In many parts of Burkina, crops can no longer be cultivated because of the conflict.
In November 2022, Idrissa Badini, a civil society spokesman, raised the alarm about the situation in Arbinda, saying: “The population, which has used up its reserves, is on the verge of a humanitarian disaster.” Army officers have carried out two coups in Ouagadougou in the past year, in a show of anger at failures to roll back the insurgency.
The latest junta leader is 34-year-old Captain Ibrahim Traore, who seized power on September 30. He has made security the regime’s No. 1 priority, beefing up a volunteer militia and setting his sights on “reconquering territory occupied by the hordes of terrorists.”
It looks like there is more into this story. Have these children and woman found? Read More!