There is no sanity in kidnap of Cameroon school children
It is now more than 24 hours after at least 79 pupils from Bamenda’s Presbyterian Secondary School in the English-speaking part of west Cameroon were kidnapped while they were in school. Some of their teachers were also said to have been kidnapped too. 24 hours later, those kids, ages 10 to 14 are still under the hostile anguish of isolation and ill-weather.
Reports point to the direction that those kidnappers are the ‘Ambaboys’ short for Ambazonia boys—the separatist group who want political independence for the minority English-speaking part of the country. Regional governor Adolphe Lele L’Afrique blamed separatist militias for the kidnapping, although this has not been confirmed.
While the separatist group are entitled to their opinions and they are by law entitled to their rights for self-determination under the legal confines, those little children in captivity do not deserve that ill-treatment. It is a misplaced priority and wrongful decision for the ‘Ambaboys’ to vent their anger on wrong people.
Between 2017 and now when the separatist movement gained momentum, a number of stone-wielding agitators have been killed and maimed under the superior firearms of the state forces. But those boys have continued to pursue their campaign fervently. Now, Ambazonians’ campaigns are getting international reckoning. It is the right time for the movement to define the objects of their agitations and package it properly and reasonably. Kidnapping the school children is surely not a good branding for the separatist movement. More so, it looks untidy and tardy for the Bamenda boys to turn around and eat their own flesh by kidnapping their own children and taking them into isolation. Its smacks of animalistic tendency, even saner animals do not eat their own type. Bamenda is the stronghold of the separatist movement. Those children are their children.
A video of some of the children, believed to have been filmed by one of the kidnappers, is being shared on social media. The students, all boys and crammed into a tiny room, all look nervous as the person holding the camera orders them to say their names and where they are from.
They also repeat the phrase: “I was taken from school last night by the Amba boys, I don’t know where I am.”
One student, who managed to avoid capture by hiding under a bed, told the BBC that events unfolded quickly as the kidnappers entered the school.
“One of my friends, they beat him mercilessly. All I could think about was to just stay quiet. They threatened to shoot some people… all the big boys they rounded up, and the small ones they left them behind.”
A teacher at the school described what she saw as she entered the principal’s office after students had been taken from different dormitories.
“The military came in and went to the principal’s house where we realised that her door was bashed and entered into, the glasses are still there on the ground,” she told the BBC.
It is our view that the kidnapping of the children is ill-motivated and wrongful action. The action does not serve any good interest of the people of Bamenda whose interest the ‘Ambaboys’ claim to be fighting. It is our considered opinion that the boys should immediately release those children immediately, unconditionally and unharmed while they are entitled to their rights to pursue their dream of self-determination.