World

JUST IN: Some 80 people, mostly school children, kidnapped in Cameroon

JUST IN: Some 80 people, mostly school children, kidnapped in Cameroon

Nkwen in Bamenda, their principal, a teacher and driver, were abducted by unknown men early Monday, according to the school authorities.

A video purporting to show the kidnapped students was released on social media from a group of men who call themselves "Amba boys", a reference to the state of Ambazonia armed separatists want to establish in Cameroon's Anglophone North West and South West regions.

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 men who stormed a Presbyterian school in Cameroon on Sunday kidnapped 78 students and absconded with the hostages to a separatist base, where a video captured one militant's chilling address to the scared group: "You will be going to school now here".

There has been no official statement from the school authorities and as reporters spoke to the parents, majority believed a number of children who had not been kidnapped were being held by the authorities, something that only piles up their frustration.

The separatists, who are protesting against President Paul Biya's French-speaking government, have imposed strict curfews, shuttered schools, and killed government soldiers and policemen in guerilla raids. The children say they were kidnapped late Sunday by the armed men and they don't know where they are being held.




The separatists have gunned down troops and police, boycotted and torched schools and attacked other perceived symbols of the Cameroonian state.

About 20 percent of Cameroon's 22 million people are English speaking.

One of them shouted, how many times have we asked you not to work here again. The footage could not be immediately verified, but parents have reportedly been reacting to images of their children on social media, according to AP.

A teacher at the school described what she saw as she entered the principal's office after students had been taken from different dormitories. "Cameroon was colonised by Germany and then split into British and French areas after World War One", the BBC explains.

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

In an October presidential election, opposition candidate Maurice Kamto declared victory against Biya, who has ruled since 1982, but Biya's ruling party dismissed claims of defeat and accused Kamto of breaking the law. Last week, an American missionary was fatally shot in the head while in his vehicle, apparently caught in crossfire between government soldiers and armed separatists in Bamenda.


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