Presbyterian School Students Kidnapped at Gun Point in Cameroon
Presbyterian School Students Kidnapped at Gun Point in Cameroon
Seventy-nine pupils were kidnapped in Cameroon
07 November, 2018, 16:40
Fonki Samuel Forba, moderator of Cameroon's Presbyterian Church, said Wednesday that the schoolchildren, who had been kidnapped Sunday night from a church school, had been left at a church near Bamenda, the capital of the troubled English-speaking North West region.
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.
A six-minute video seen by AFP on Monday, but which could not be confirmed independently, showed 11 boys apparently aged about 15 giving their identity and name of the school in English, and adding that they were abducted by the "Amba Boys" - a name for anglophone separatists.
In the video, the kidnappers force several of the young male students to give their names and the names of their parents.
The men who identify themselves on the video as the kidnappers say they will only release the children when they achieve what they want.
Most of Cameroon is French-speaking, while the country's western portion is populated by English speakers.
The abduction of the school children marked an escalation of the two-year long crisis that has gripped the two English-speaking regions. The children say they were kidnapped by the Amba boys, and they do not know where they are being held.
"How can he always talk of protection and security when our schools are torched every day, our children tortured and their teachers killed?" he said.
The children, their principal and a driver were taken into the bush outside town, military and government sources said, and the army had started searching the area.
"We shall only release you after the struggle". The separatists claim that they have been marginalised in Biya's regime.
The crisis started as an industrial strike by lawyers and teachers in 2016, but snowballed into an internal armed conflict since a year ago when separatists joined and symbolically declared the independence of the Federal Republic of Ambazonia. The government responded with a crackdown and separatists fought back.
There have been other kidnappings from schools in the region, but this is the largest number kidnapped at once. Armed separatists have also killed teachers who disobeyed orders to keep schools closed.
After an intensive search, the students were released and returned to the school with their driver at 9:30 p.m. (4:30 p.m. ET) on Tuesday, according to teacher Vumesegah Peter Kogah.
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