At least 78 children abducted in Cameroon
by Onize Ohikere
Posted 11/05/18, 11:34 am
Armed separatists in Cameroon’s restive Northwest Region kidnapped at least 78 students, their principal, and several teachers from a Presbyterian school in the village of Nkwen near Bamenda, the regional capital, regional Gov. Deben Tchoffo confirmed Monday. Cameroon’s Northwest is the center of clashes between security forces and English-speaking separatists who complain of marginalization and have declared the region an independent state named Ambazonia. The group gathered steam after the government violently cracked down on peaceful protests by English speakers in 2016. Last week, American missionary Charles Wesco died in Bamenda after he was caught in the crossfire between security forces and separatists.
In a video posted online by the separatists, who call themselves Amba boys after Ambazonia, some of the children identified themselves and said they didn’t know where their kidnappers were holding them. “We shall only release you after the struggle,” the men said to the boys in the video. “You will be going to school now here.” The leader of the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon, the Rev. Fonki Samuel Forba, told the BBC that he had spoken with the kidnappers. “All they want is for us to close the schools,” Forba said. “We hope and pray they release the kids and the teachers.”
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Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.