Saturday, 17 November, 2018

At Least 78 Students Kidnapped in Cameroon

Over 80 People Mostly Schoolchildren Kidnapped In Cameroon Reports 78 students kidnapped from Presbyterian school: Cameroon governor
Faye Gross | 08 November, 2018, 06:42

Rev. Forba said security officers visited the school on Tuesday and took away the vice principal and another member of staff for interrogation.

He pleaded with the kidnappers to "free the staff still in their keeping".

He said the students looked exhausted and as if they had suffered during their captivity.

A video of some of the children, all boys, believed to have been filmed by one of the kidnappers, is being shared on social media.

The students were enrolled at the Presbyterian Secondary School in Bamenda, capital of Cameroon's Northwest Region - one of two areas where surging anglophone separatist militancy has been met with a brutal crackdown by authorities.

The priest added that another 11 school children had been kidnapped by the same armed group on October 31, then released...

The children say they were kidnapped on Sunday night and do not know where they are being held.

No one has yet claimed responsibility for Monday's mass kidnapping.

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"We shall only release you after the struggle".

The video has not been verified, but the AP reports some parents wrote on social media that they recognized their children.

Hundreds have been killed in the past year and the separatists have vowed to destabilize the regions.

"Measures are being taken to ensure that the abducted students are brought back to the classroom", said Northwest governor Adolphe Lele Lafrique.

"We urge an immediate halt to the indiscriminate targeting of civilians and burning of houses by Cameroonian government forces and to attacks perpetrated by both Anglophone separatists against security forces and civilians", the department said in a statement from spokesperson Heather Nauert. Worldwide actors - especially the African Union, the United Nations, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States - should unanimously condemn violence against civilians and make clear that no political objective justifies tampering with the right to education and abducting sleeping schoolchildren from their beds.

In this Sunday Oct. 7, 2018 file photo, Cameroon's Incumbent President Paul Biya, of the Cameroon People's Democratic Movement party, casts his vote during presidential elections in Yaounde, Cameroon. 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.

Separatists have imposed curfews and closed down schools as part of their protest. Tensions increased after Biya was easily reelected last month for a seventh term in office.

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