Nearly 80 children kidnapped from Cameroon school

Yaounde [Cameroon]: Around 79 children from a boarding school in Cameroon’s Northwest region were kidnapped by armed men on Monday.

The men entered the Presbyterian Secondary School in Bamenda, overpowered the security guard and forced him to take them to the children, who were sleeping, Louis Marie Begne, spokesman for Cameroon’s Northwest government, told CNN.

The armed miscreants kidnapped the children and three others, including the principal of the boarding school.

Following the abduction, an emergency meeting was held and the police and military forces are on a manhunt to find the children, Begne said. He added that the pupils were divided into groups and did not rule out the hand of separatists.

The secessionist fighters, who are English-speaking, have been demanding independence from Cameroon. They have been largely accused of abducting students in Cameroon’s restive north and southwest regions.

Human rights group Amnesty International said that armed secessionists kidnapped seven pupils and a head teacher from a school in Bafut, situated in the country’s northwest, in September. The hostages were “tortured and seriously injured” by the abductors before being released.

Since last year, there has been an uprising in Cameroon’s Southwest and Northwest regions, demanding a separate country of Ambazonia. Its residents make up 20 per cent of the nation’s total population and they have alleged the country’s mostly speaking French government of marginalisation, as per the report.

Cameroon President Paul Biya, who is in power since 1982, is accused of using the military to launch assaults on the armed fighters and kill English speakers. The separatists, on the other hand, are accused of killing Cameroonian troops.