Home>US & World>Cameroon kidnap: Bamenda students freed
US & World

Cameroon kidnap: Bamenda students freed

Spread the love


Image copyright
Evn

Image caption

The pupils were taken from the Presbyterian Secondary School in Bamenda

Students kidnapped from a boarding school in Cameroon’s North-West region have been freed, officials say.

The 79 students and three others were seized early on Sunday in the region’s capital, Bamenda.

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

The government and separatists in the English-speaking region have been accusing each other of being behind the kidnapping.

A video purportedly showing some of the kidnapped students from Bamenda’s Presbyterian Secondary School has been shared online, sparking outrage.

An Anglophone separatist movement has been operating in the North-West and South-West regions over the past year.

The circumstances of the students’ release is unclear but authorities say they are being questioned before being released to their parents.

How were the children freed?

According to the Presbyterian Church of Cameroon, the students were abandoned in one of their buildings in the town of Bafut, about 24km (15 miles) from Bamenda.

The church has also said that Sunday’s kidnapping was the second kidnapping at the same school in less than a week.

In the 31 October incident, 11 boys were taken and then released. It is unclear who the kidnappers were.

Image caption

The students were seized in the North-West region’s capital of Bamenda

Communication Minister Issa Bakary Tchiroma told AFP news agency that “all 79 students have been released,” but did not give any further details.

A priest who was conducting negotiations with the captors confirmed the release but said the school’s principal, driver and a teacher had been held back, Reuters news agency reports.

The army had been deployed to try and find the children.

Who was behind the kidnap?

Cameroon’s authorities have blamed the kidnap on Anglophone separatist militias – who have called for the closing of schools in English-speaking regions.

They want to create an independent state called Ambazonia.

A video of the hostages released on Monday showed one of the captives saying they had been seized by “Amba Boys” – the widely-used term to describe the separatist rebels.

An Anglophone group, the Ambazonia International Policy commission (AIPC), has however cast doubt on the idea that the perpetrators are the separatists, noting that that the person recording the video appears to have a poor grasp of Pidgin-English, the language spoken widely in the Anglophone area of the country.

One of the kidnappers was apparently heard speaking French.

What is happening in English-speaking parts of Cameroon?

English-speakers in Cameroon have long complained that they face discrimination.

They say that they are excluded from top civil service jobs and that government documents are often only published in French, even though English is also an official language.

Cameroon – still divided along colonial lines

Image copyright
Alamy

Image caption

Africa’s borders were “carved up” up by colonial powers

  • Colonised by Germany in 1884
  • British and French troops force Germans to leave in 1916
  • Cameroon is split three years later – 80% goes to the French and 20% to the British
  • French-run Cameroon becomes independent in 1960
  • Following a referendum, the (British) Southern Cameroons join Cameroon, while Northern Cameroons join English-speaking Nigeria

Read more: Cameroon timeline



Source link

More from my site

Review Overview

Summary

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *