ibusinesslines.com December 17, 2018

Cameroon: Around 80 people, mostly school students, abducted in Bamenda city

07 November 2018, 11:16 | Erica Roy

Cameroon: Around 80 people, mostly school students, abducted in Bamenda city

Cameroon: Around 80 people, mostly school students, abducted in Bamenda city

Seventy-nine school pupils were abducted by gunmen earlier this week in a troubled region of Cameroon.

One of the workers, 27-year old Christopher Ongene said armed men attacked them Saturday evening. They have torched at least a hundred schools and chased students and teachers from schools that they then take over as training grounds.

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.

While such mass kidnappings were previously unknown in Cameroon, the abduction came after two major such incidents in neighbouring Nigeria, where the Islamist group Boko Haram snatched more than 200 schoolgirls from the Borno state town of Chibok in April 2014.

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

Armed men kidnapped 78 students from a Presbyterian school in the Nkwen village, Northwest Region Governor Deben Tchoffo said.

There have been other kidnappings from schools in the region, but this is the largest number kidnapped at once.

The turmoil in Cameroon comes after President Paul Biya won a seventh term last month in an election the USA said was marked by irregularities.

The boys also said they were taken by the armed men late Sunday and didn't know where they were being held. President Paul Biya has been in power since 1982.

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

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

While the video could not be independently verified, parents have been reacting on social media saying they recognise their children in the video.

The school's principal, the driver, and a teacher are still in captivity, the BBC's Mayeni Jones reports.

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

Cameroon, once a German colony, was divided between Britain and France after World War I. The French colony gained independence in 1960, becoming Cameroon.

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. The fighting has displaced tens of thousands of people, with many fleeing Bamenda for the calmer Francophone regions.

The separatists say the Cameroonian government unfairly treats the country's English-speaking population.

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