Cameroon separatists seize 78 pupils in campaign for Ambazonia

Cheryl Sanders
November 7, 2018

"I would like to send a strong message to the terrorists that, yes, they have provoked, they are raping, killing, looting, abducting but they are going to face a strong powerful reaction by the powers that be, not only here in Bamenda but elsewhere in the North region", said Governor Deben. According to AFP, 79 school students were abducted.

A report claimed 78 students, a driver and another teacher were among those kidnapped.

Dozens of students were kidnapped from a Presbyterian school in Cameroon.

Armed men kidnapped 79 children from a school in western Cameroon on Monday and a local pastor said separatist militias were responsible.

In another development, armed groups in Cameroon's restive English speaking regions have been attacking and chopping off fingers of workers of the country's second largest employer, the Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC), in what has been described as renewed efforts to destabilise the central African state ahead of Tuesday inauguration of President-elect Paul Biya, who has been in power for 36 years. The boys also said they were kidnapped by armed men and didn't know where they were being held. Reportedly, the attack took place in Nkwen village, which is an English-speaking region where separatists are fighting to form an independent state and want to call it Ambazonia. Tensions increased after Biya was easily reelected last month for a seventh term in office.

Separatists have since attacked troops and police, boycotted and torched schools and attacked other state symbols, prompting a brutal official crackdown.

The AP said the video shows the kidnappers forcing several boys to say their names and the names of their parents. The video could not be independently verified, but parents said on social media they recognised their children in the recording.

The abduction of the school children marked an escalation of the two-year long crisis that has gripped the two English-speaking regions.

Around a fifth of Cameroon's 22m people are English-speaking - a minority whose presence dates back to the colonial period.

"We hope and pray they release the kids and the teachers", he added.

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.

Ongene said they were accused of defying instructions from the separatists not to go to work on the farms to protest President Biya's reelection and his expected inauguration on November 6.

A separatist spokesman denied involvement and said government soldiers had staged the kidnapping to discredit the rebels.

Other reports by iNewsToday