At least 50 women were abducted by Islamic extremists in Burkina Faso’s northern Sahel region last week, a local official said Monday.
The kidnappings occurred on January 12 and 13 approximately 15 kilometers (9 miles) from the town of Arbinda in Soum province, Lt. Col. P.F. Rodolphe Sorgho, the governor of Sahel, said in a statement.
The women were kidnapped while out in the countryside gathering wild fruit, he said.
Jihadi violence linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group has overrun Burkina Faso, killing thousands and 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, the second against the first military regime to seize power.
The military junta that seized power in September, vowing to restore security, is still struggling to stem the violence.