Cameroon parents anxious over lack of info on abducted children


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. "You will be going to school now here", say the men, who identified themselves as Amba boys. Between February 2017 and May 2018, for example, at least 42 schools in the regions were attacked, including 36 that were damaged by arson attacks, 11 damaged by other types of attacks, as well as two school buses burnt down and various harassments and attacks on students and teachers.

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.

The school's website says that the student body numbers more than 700, drawn from "all the religious and linguistic origins of Cameroon".

Armed men kidnapped 79 children from a school in western Cameroon on Monday and a local pastor said separatist militias were responsible.

"In total 81 people were kidnapped including the [school] principal".

The turmoil in Cameroon comes after President Paul Biya won a seventh term last month in an election the United States said was marked by irregularities. The separatists also have set fire to at least 100 schools and driven out students and teachers from buildings taken over as training grounds.

Rebels have gunned down Cameroon troops, pictured, and police.

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A video said to have been released by the kidnappers shows several young boy being forced to state their name to camera.

One of them shouted, how many times have we asked you not to work here again.

The video has not been verified, but the AP reports some parents wrote on social media that they recognized their children.

The 85-year-old was credited with 71.3% of the vote, although the ballot was marred by allegations of widespread fraud, low voter turnout and violence.

About 20 percent of Cameroon's 22 million people are English speaking. "Cameroon was colonised by Germany and then split into British and French areas after World War One", the BBC explains. Many people have fled Bamenda and other centers to seek refuge in more peaceful Francophone regions.

Cameroon's president demanded anglophone separatists lay down their arms after dozens of schoolchildren were seized in a kidnapping the army blamed on the rebels.

Most of the students kidnapped, were students of Form Five preparing for the GCE O' Level and have appeared in a video posted online by pro separatist activists.