Separatists in Cameroon’s restive north-western region have kidnapped over 30 women and injured an unspecified number of others, officials have said.
The women were abducted in Big Babanki, a village near the border with Nigeria, for allegedly protesting against a curfew and taxes imposed on them by the separatists.
“Around 30 women were kidnapped by separatists [on Saturday morning] – we have not found them yet,” an army colonel told the AFP news agency.
Some local media report that the number of those missing was even higher – up to 50 women.
Officials said some women were “severely tortured” by the heavily armed rebels, who frequently kidnap civilians, mostly for ransom.
Separatist leader Capo Daniel told the Associated Press that the women were being punished for allowing themselves to be “manipulated” by Cameroon’s government.
The military says it has deployed troops to free the women.
Cameroon has been plagued by fighting since English-speaking separatists launched a rebellion in 2017.
The conflict has claimed more than 6,000 lives and forced more than a million people to flee their homes, according to the Crisis Group.