Cameroon School Kidnapping

Huda Khan, Author

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On Sunday, in Cameroon’s North-West region, 78 school children were kidnapped from their boarding school. Among the kidnapped were 42 girls, 36 boys, the school principal, a teacher, and a driver. They were reportedly held at gunpoint by multiple gunmen and forced out of the school.

The kidnapping occurred near Bamenda (circled), Cameroon. (Photo: Google Maps)

The location at which the kidnapping occurred (Photo: https://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/crime/armed-men-kidnap-78-students-from-presbyterian-school-1-8693846)

According to CNN news, the children and the driver were freed and returned to the school at 9:30pm. A military truck later returned to the school and took them to the governor’s office. The principal and the teacher as of now are still being held captive by the unknown kidnappers.

The freed students being helped into a truck by paramilitary force in Bamenda

The children being taken to the government (Photo: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-46122678)

The government accuses the Anglophone separatists of being behind the kidnapping, but they deny any relations. The movement started last year when the North-West and the South-West regions of Cameroon demanded independence. The separatists suggest that the government kidnapped the children.

The kidnapped children are between the ages 11 and 17.  They are, “frightened and traumatized but in good shape,” says Rev. Fonki Samuel, who is a church monitor in Cameroon. The children were given food and checked by doctors, before they were released to their parents. The school is now closed due to the kidnapping.

The unidentified gunmen returned the children peacefully to the church premises. The church was given a call the day before the kids were returned, in which the gunmen said that they would return the children the following day, but unfortunately heavy rains caused a delay.        

The kidnapping is reportedly not the only one involving the aforementioned school. On 3 October, another incident involving 11 boys occurred.  They were taken and held for ransom, with the church paying $4,000 for the safe release of the boys.

According to BBC news, Rev. Samuel said that the people behind the kidnap could be gangsters, thieves, or armed groups that are taking advantage of the people of the region. The authorities in Cameroon accuse the Anglophone separatists militias, considering that they have called for schools in English-speaking regions to be closed. Their agenda is to create an independent state called Ambazonia.

People from Cameroon who speak English have complained about being discriminated against. Some complaints include being excluded from civil service jobs and that important government documents are all in French instead of English.

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Cameroon School Kidnapping