Yaoundé 28 May 2023 (TDI): A distressing incident has occurred in the village of Babanki, located in the Northwestern region of Cameroon, where over thirty women have been forcibly abducted by separatist rebels. The motive behind this deplorable act is their courageous protest against unjust taxation imposed by the separatist group.

These brave women, who primarily consisted of farmers and merchants, were advocating against the imposition of illegal taxes on the local populace. The separatists, known for their coercive tactics, have been subjecting men, women, and even children to monthly payments.

Furthermore, couples intending to marry are compelled to pay additional fees, while grieving families are unjustly burdened with a staggering thousand-dollar charge for burial services.

Simon Emil Mooh, the esteemed official in charge of the area, expressed his deep concern, stating, “We have received credible information that ten of the abducted women were subjected to brutal torture involving guns and machetes.” This revelation underscores the horrifying nature of the situation, highlighting the immense suffering inflicted upon innocent civilians.

In a shocking response, separatist leader Capo Daniel, in an interview with the Associated Press, justified the abductions as punishment for what he perceived as the women’s manipulation by the government of Cameroon. Such a callous and unfounded assertion is not only an attempt to shift blame but also a blatant violation of human rights.

The ongoing conflict in Cameroon, which originated in 2017 when English-speaking separatists rebelled against the French-speaking majority, seeks to establish an independent state predominantly English-speaking. Tragically, this struggle has claimed the lives of over six thousand individuals and resulted in the displacement of more than 760,000 people.

Acknowledging the severity of this distressing situation, the Cameroon military promptly announced the deployment of troops to rescue the abducted women from their captors. The government’s swift response underscores its commitment to safeguarding the well-being and security of its citizens.

The international community is urged to take immediate action, standing in solidarity with the affected women and condemning such flagrant human rights violations. We call upon all relevant authorities, humanitarian organizations, and governments to join forces in ensuring the safe release of these women and bring an end to this grievous ordeal.