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Burkina Faso: Islamist militants kidnapped around 50 women

Burkina Faso soldiers are seen deployed in Ouagadougou on Sept 30, 2022. (OLYMPIA DE MAISMONT / AFP)

OUAGADOUGOU – Islamist militants kidnapped around 50 women in Burkina Faso's northern province of Soum on Jan 12 and 13, the government said in a statement on Monday.

Armed men seized the women as they were picking wild fruit outside the village of Liki, around 15 kilometres from the town of Aribinda, and in another district west of the town.

"Searching has started with the aim of finding all these innocent victims safe and sound," the government statement said.

Burkina Faso has been battling a violent insurgency with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State that spread from neighboring Mali in 2015 despite costly international military efforts to contain it.

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Thousands have been killed and more than 2.7 million displaced across the Sahel, where insecurity has affected agriculture and contributed to rising hunger levels, according to the United Nations.