Almost 80 Cameroon school children kidnapped by armed assailants during the night

Frederick Owens
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. Between February 2017 and May 2018, for example, at least 42 schools in the regions were attacked, including 36 that were damaged by arson attacks, 11 damaged by other types of attacks, as well as two school buses burnt down and various harassments and attacks on students and teachers.

A video uploaded to social media showed the kidnapped children and the alleged kidnappers, calling themselves "Amba boys" in reference to the breakaway Ambazonia state that the separatists have been trying to create.

The kidnappings were the first such mass abductions seen in Cameroon and coincide with an upsurge of political tensions in the majority French-speaking country.

Militants have kidnapped at least 78 students from a Christian school in northwestern Cameroon.

"We urge an immediate halt to the indiscriminate targeting of civilians and burning of houses by Cameroonian government forces and to attacks perpetrated by. anglophone separatists", State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

In the video, the kidnappers force several young male students to give their names and the names of their parents.

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A miltary source said the principal of the school had also been kidnapped.

"We shall only release you after the struggle".

Separatists have imposed curfews and closed down schools as part of their protest. But it reported that some parents said on social media that they recognized their children in the video. The 85-year-old just won his seventh term in an election that the BBC reports was "marred by low turnout and voter intimidation". The following year, the British-ruled Southern Cameroons was amalgamated into it, giving rise to the Northwest and Southwest regions.

In 2016, demands for greater autonomy grew but met with a rebuff by Mr Biya.

A teacher at the school described what she saw as she entered the principal's office after students had been taken from different dormitories.

According to United Nations figures, 246,000 people in the Southwest Region have fled their homes, and 25,000 have sought shelter in neighbouring Nigeria, many of them living hand-to-mouth in the forests. The demonstrators claim that as the English-speaking minority, they are marginalized by the French-speaking government. He said it was most likely to have been carried out by separatists.

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