World News

Almost 80 children kidnapped in Cameroon’s English-speaking separatist region

Almost 80 children kidnapped in Cameroon’s English-speaking separatist region

"We shall only release you after the struggle".

"The search for the hostages has been launched, every man has been called in", a government source said after he emerged from a crisis meeting.

Violence between armed separatists and the Cameroon military have increased over the past year after a government crackdown against protesters who say they are marginalized by the French-speaking government.

The students were abducted along with their principal, a teacher and a driver, the official said, as a source at the school confirmed the kidnapping of the pupils.

Dozens of people, majority children, have been kidnapped from a school in the city of Bamenda in Cameroon's northwestern Anglophone region, which is struggling with a separatist insurgency. The video couldn't be independently verified.

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

Violent separatists have since taken up arms to destabilize the Anglophone regions to win independence for the areas they want to declare a separate state, which they call Ambazonia.

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The conflict between the insurgents and government security forces intensified past year after a government crackdown on peaceful protesters.

An American missionary also died in the North West region near its capital, Bamenda, when he was shot in the head amid fighting between separatists and soldiers.

At the end of a video believed to show some of the kidnapped students, the kidnapper turns the camera on himself. Many people have fled Bamenda and other centers to seek refuge in more peaceful Francophone regions.

The CDC runs banana, palm oil, and rubber plantations in Cameroon's troubled southwest and northwest regions.

They also repeat the phrase: "I was taken from school last night by the Amba boys, I don't know where I am".

In an October presidential election, opposition candidate Maurice Kamto declared victory against Biya, who has ruled since 1982, but Biya's ruling party dismissed claims of defeat and accused Kamto of breaking the law. All they want is for us to close the schools.

Around a fifth of Cameroon's 22 million people are English-speaking - a minority whose presence dates back to the colonial period. Armed separatists have even killed teachers who defied instructions to keep schools closed.


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