Around 50 women were abducted on Thursday January 12 and Friday January 13 by suspected jihadists in Arbinda, in northern Burkina Faso, local officials and residents of this locality told Agence France-Presse (AFP). , regular scene of violence.
According to the testimony of several residents and local officials wishing to remain anonymous, a first group of about forty women was kidnapped about ten kilometers south-east of Arbinda, and another of about twenty the next day in the north of this municipality. Some escaped, returned to their villages and testified.
“The women have gathered to go pick leaves and wild fruits in the bush because there is nothing left to eat”explained one of the inhabitants, specifying that they had left with their carts during the day on Thursday.
“On Thursday evening, not seeing them return, we thought that their carts had had a problem, but three survivors came back to tell us what happened”added another resident.
Area under blockade by jihadist groups
According to him, the next day, 8 kilometers north of Arbinda, about twenty women who were not informed of the first abduction were in turn kidnapped.
“In both groups, women managed to escape the vigilance of the terrorists and returned to the village on foot”he explained. “We believe that the kidnappers took them to their various bases”he continued.
According to local officials who confirmed the abductions, the army and its civilian auxiliaries searched the area, without success.
The commune of Arbinda is located in the Sahel region, in the north of Burkina Faso, an area under blockade by jihadist groups and which is hardly supplied with food. Nearly a million people currently live in areas under blockade, in the north or east of the country, according to the United Nations.
Burkina Faso, particularly in its northern half, has been confronted since 2015 with attacks by jihadist groups linked to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State organization, which are increasing. They left thousands dead and at least two million displaced.
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Captain Ibrahim Traoré, transitional president from the military coup of September 30, 2022 – the second in eight months – has set himself the goal of “the reconquest of the territory occupied by these hordes of terrorists”.