YAOUNDE, Cameroon 

Boko Haram terrorists attacked and abducted at least 16 villagers in Cameroon’s Far North Region, authorities said on Tuesday.

Midjiyawa Bakari, the governor of the region, said the attack took place around 3 p.m. local time (1400GMT) in the village of Mainankoua, bordering Nigeria.

”They abducted 17 people, including 14 women and three men, but one of the men was released and returned to the village. 16 remain in captivity,” he said.

The governor said the terror group also attacked Sandawadjiri village near the town of Kolofata, adding that the army has launched a search and rescue operation in the area ”to find the hostages.”

Gen. Bouba Dobekreo, the commander of a joint military operation in the region, said the Cameroonian army neutralized three Boko Haram terrorists on Monday, while several others were injured.

Boko Haram launched a bloody insurgency in 2009 in northeastern Nigeria but later spread its atrocities to neighboring Niger, Chad, and Cameroon, prompting a military response.

More than 30,000 people have been killed and nearly 3 million displaced in a decade of Boko Haram’s terrorist activities in Nigeria, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Violence committed by Boko Haram has affected some 26 million people in the Lake Chad region and displaced 2.6 million others, according to the UN Refugee Agency.

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