Cameroon child hostages released by kidnappers

Cameroon child hostages released by kidnappers

Armed separatists have kidnapped at least 78 students and their principal from a Presbyterian school in Nkwen village in Cameroon's restive northwest region, a governor said Monday. The separatists also have set fire to at least 100 schools and driven out students and teachers from buildings taken over as training grounds.

A video uploaded to social media showed the kidnapped children and the alleged kidnappers, calling themselves "Amba boys" in reference to the breakaway Ambazonia state that the separatists have been trying to create.

In the video, the kidnappers force several young male students to give their names and the names of their parents. The footage could not be immediately verified, but parents have reportedly been reacting to images of their children on social media, according to AP.

"We shall only release you after the struggle. You will be going to school now here", declared the men who identified themselves as the Amba boys.

In a statement, Amnesty International strongly condemned the kidnappings.

He had earlier said another 11 school children were kidnapped by the same armed group on October 31, then released after the school paid a ransom of 2.5 million CFA francs ($6,000).

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


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

Cameroon, once a German colony, was divided between Britain and France after World War I. The French colony gained independence in 1960, becoming Cameroon.

What is happening in English-speaking parts of Cameroon?

The integration was not a smooth one, and the Anglophone minority complains of marginalization by the Francophone majority.

This past year has marked a distressing period for Cameroon's Anglophone regions, as hundreds have lost their lives as a result of the violence that has cropped up between armed separatists and the military. Last week, an American missionary was fatally shot in the head while in his vehicle, apparently caught in crossfire between government soldiers and armed separatists in Bamenda. They have attacked civilians who do not support their cause, including teachers who were killed for disobeying orders to keep schools closed.

Seventy-nine school pupils abducted by gunmen this week in a troubled English-speaking region of Cameroon have been freed, the country's communications minister told AFP Wednesday.

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