Armed separatists have kidnapped at least 50 women in Big Babanki, Ngoketunjia Department, in the Northwest region. The incident occurred on May 19 when the women were protesting the demand for "war effort" payments imposed by the separatists. According to local sources, the militiamen are demanding 30,000 CFA per woman and 50,000 CFA per man. Other sources said the demand was 10,000 CFA per man and 5,000 CFA per woman.
In retaliation, the separatists kidnapped the women, subjecting them to brutal treatment. A video shared on social media shows the separatists taking responsibility for the abductions. The footage shows the women sitting on the ground in what appears to be an abandoned building. Some of the women show signs of physical abuse, and a voice in the video threatens to kill them.
Ransom and extortion are common methods used by separatists to finance their activities in the Anglophone regions. As a reminder, the crisis started as a simple corporate demand in October 2016. Despite government responses, the situation escalated into an armed conflict between radical separatists and the military in 2017. The conflict has resulted in a significant loss of life, with international NGOs estimating over 6,000 deaths, and the UN reporting approximately 700,000 internally displaced individuals.