Kumba, Cameroon. Credit/BBC

Kumba, Cameroon. Credit/BBC

Cameroon: Fresh 20 pupils kidnapped Monday in Kumba

 

About a fourth-night after about 80 children of a Presbyterian school in Bamenda were released by their abductors, a fresh twenty students have been kidnapped by gunmen from a school in the restive English-speaking part of Cameroon.

Separatist movement championed by the minority English-speaking part of the country has taken a toll on the country in the recent times. Although there have been no official confirmation, there are speculations that the spate of kidnapping may be have been handiworks of the separatist group.

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Armed groups have called on local residents to boycott schools until a referendum on independence is held.

Protests against marginalisation by the country’s French-speaking majority have been met with a crackdown.

The BBC reports that gunmen entered the Lords Bilingual School at 09:00 local time (08:00 GMT) and took 20 students and the principal, Kumba-based journalist Martin Cho says.

“The private school is on the outskirts of Kumba, in the South-West region’s Meme district, and is surrounded by rubber plantations, he says.

A separate source at the school confirmed the abduction to the BBC.

A spokesperson for Meme, Ebane Kome Slesor, has told journalists the security forces have opened an investigation in a bid to free the abductees”, it reported.

Government of Cameroon had launched an investigation into deadly violence linked to a declaration of independence in the  English-speaking region, of the country.

“Apart from the material damage, precise enquiries have been opened by judicial authorities on the toll,” Defence Minister Joseph Beti Assomo said on state radio.

 AFP reported that 14 people died “in violence in the run-up to the symbolic October 1 declaration of independence of Ambazonia, the name of the state the separatists want to create”. But Amnesty International has given a toll of 17.

Assomo had on Thursday visited Buea, the main city in the English-speaking southwest region, where he headed a meeting to review security.

The Cameroon’s anglophone-francophone rift dates back to 1961 when the British-administered Southern Cameroons united with Cameroon after its independence from France in 1960.

The English speakers complain they have suffered decades of economic inequality and social injustice at the hands of the French-speaking majority.

Anglophones account for about a fifth of the 22 million population.

 

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