Cameroon school kidnap: 81 students taken in Nkwen village swoop

06 November, 2018, 16:03 | Author: Myra Gill
  • 80 people, mostly school children, kidnapped in Cameroon

The AP said the video shows the kidnappers forcing several boys to say their names and the names of their parents. The children said they were kidnapped late Sunday and didn't know where they were being held.

While the video could not be independently verified, parents have been reacting on social media saying they recognise their children in the video.

A separatist spokesman denied involvement in the kidnapping and blamed government soldiers. "You will be going to school now here", the men said. Cameroon is a country still deeply divided by colonial influences of English and French- some of the English minority support the creation of a separate English state in the West called Ambazonia, and in the a year ago militias have formed in pursuit of that goal.

A government official said the three comprised the school's principal, a teacher and a driver.

Armed separatists have kidnapped almost 80 people, the majority of them students, in an English-speaking region of Cameroon witnessing an armed campaign for independence, a governor has said.

The separatist movement gathered momentum in 2017 after a government crackdown on peaceful demonstrations.

Conflict began in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon in 2016 when teachers and lawyers complained of discrimination from the French-speaking majority in education and the justice system.

Last week an American missionary was killed after he was caught in the crossfire between separatist fighters and security forces.

In several western Cameroonian regions, the separatists have imposed curfews and shut down schools as hundreds of residents have fled the crisis-hit region to more peaceful areas.

Militias, who have been demanding the independence of the two English-speaking regions, have called for a school boycott.

They told Africanews, the abductors damaged school property and beat other children before committing the crime.

What have the kidnappers said?

Around a fifth of Cameroon's 22 million people are English-speaking - a minority whose presence dates back to the colonial period. Tensions increased after Biya was easily reelected last month for a seventh term in office.

On 19 October, five students of the Atiela Bilingual High School were taken by unidentified gunmen.

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