Almost 80 children abducted from a school in Cameroon

Pauline Gross
November 7, 2018

Dozens of people, majority children, have been kidnapped from a school in the city of Bamenda in Cameroon's northwestern Anglophone region, which is struggling with a separatist insurgency.

Though figures are still not exact for the moment, a source at the North West Governor's office said they remain cautious for the moment to give out figures not to create panic in some schools. They also burned down at least 100 schools and removed students and teachers from others they took over, the AP said.

On social media, a video purporting to show some of the students was released by a group of separatists called "Amba boys", after Ambazonia, the name they have given the independent, Anglophone state they hope to establish, according to The Associated Press.

No group claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.

Amnesty International expressed solidarity with the students' families and demanded "that the Cameroon authorities do everything in their power to ensure all the pupils and school staff are freed unharmed".

Armed assailants have kidnapped about 80 children from a school in western Cameroon during the night, government and military sources have said.

Secessionists have imposed curfews and closed down schools as part of their protest against President Paul Biya's French-speaking government and its perceived marginalisation of the Anglophone minority. The children said they were kidnapped late Sunday and didn't know where they were being held.

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A video said to have been released by the kidnappers shows several young boy being forced to state their name to camera.

"We shall only release you after the struggle".

The video could not be independently verified, but parents have said on social media that they recognise their children in the video.

Biya was credited with 71.3 percent of the vote, although the ballot was marred by allegations of widespread fraud, low voter turnout and violence. One government official blamed Anglophone separatist groups, but the largest separatist groups have denied involvement and condemned the attack, insisting that they do not attack civilians.

One of the original gripes was that French-speaking teachers were being deployed to English-speaking schools in the north-west and south-west regions.

More than 300,000 people have fled the violence, many of them now living from hand-to-mouth and exposed to varied dangers in the forests, and some across the border into Nigeria.

The government and English-speaking separatists have accused each other of orchestrating the kidnapping.

Other reports by GizPress

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