Editorial: Put an end

Religious terrorism is raising its ugly head once again. The Taliban ambushed a peace convoy in western Afghanistan and abducted 26 activists, members of a peace movement, a police spokesman said Wednesday.

The insurgents staged the ambush in the district of Bala Buluk in Farah province on Tuesday. The Taliban forced the six-vehicle convoy to a halt, then got into the cars and drove them and the activists to an unknown location, said the provincial police spokesman Mohibullah Mohib.

According to Mohib, a police operation is underway to locate and free the activists whose convoy was going village-to-village to rally for peace. However, Bismillah Watandost of the People’s Peace Movement of Afghanistan, to which the activists belong, said that 27 of their members were abducted by the Taliban in the Farah assault. The different figures could not immediately be reconciled.

The Taliban, who have been active in Farah, have not claimed responsibility for the abductions. However, Watandost also said that tribal elders in the province immediately launched an effort to negotiate with the Taliban to release the abducted activists.

On the other hand, a jihadist attack that left 42 dead in the north of Burkina Faso, the worst assault in the country for five years, plunged the nation into mourning over Christmas and sparked messages of solidarity from the United Nations and Pope Francis.

Thirty-five civilians, including 31 women, and seven soldiers were killed Tuesday in simultaneous attacks which lasted for several hours in the northern town of Arbinda and a military base, the army said, adding that 80 assailants were killed. Around a dozen soldiers were also killed in an attack overnight on Wednesday in Hallele in the same volatile northern province of Soum, security sources said.

Burkina Faso, bordering Mali and Niger, has seen frequent jihadist attacks which have left hundreds of people dead since the start of 2015 when Islamist extremist violence began to spread across the Sahel region. It is time for all nations which are affected by ‘jihad’ to come together and put an end to the unacceptable menace.

NT Bureau