“With the conflict, you have more sudden movements of people, you have more incidents which can lead to separation and disappearance,” said Marina Fakhouri, head of protection with the ICRC in Burkina Faso.

The last time Polenli Combary spoke to her son on the phone she prayed for God to bless him. Shortly after, she called back but the line was dead, the AP reports.

Her 34-year-old son was returning a truck used to move the family’s belongings from their village in eastern Burkina Faso after jihadis forced everyone to leave. He disappeared in March.

“We will keep searching … I’m just praying to God to have him back,” said Combary, 53, sitting despondently in the eastern city of Fada N’Gourma where she now lives.

Islamic extremist violence is ravaging Burkina Faso, killing thousands and displacing more than 1 million people.

And people are going missing. Reports of missing relatives quadrupled from 104 to 407 between 2019 and 2020, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross, which defines a missing person as someone whose whereabouts cannot be accounted for and requires state intervention.

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