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66 women and children were released from an armed assailant’s captivity in Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso officials have announced that 66 women and children who were kidnaped by armed assailants in the northern part of the country have been freed.

The victims, who were abducted in the village of Cyr in the northern province of Soum, were released on Sunday morning after security forces launched a rescue operation.

No further details were immediately available. It is unclear who the kidnappers were or what their motives were.

The incident highlights the growing insecurity in Burkina Faso, which is struggling with a rise in armed attacks by jihadist groups linked to al-Qaeda and Islamic State in the region.

The government has declared a state of emergency in several provinces in response to the surge in violence, and has deployed security forces to combat the insurgency.