On Sunday, at least 79 students and 3 teachers were kidnapped from a Presbyterian school in Cameroon. Governor Deben Tchoffo stated that Sunday’s kidnapping occurred around Bemenda.
A video depicting the kidnapped students allegedly surfaced on social media. The video is believed to have been taken by the Amba boys, a group whose name is in reference to the state of Ambazonia that armed separatists are attempting to enact in the northwest and southwest regions of Cameroon.
Although the video has yet to be independently verified, parents of the kidnapped schoolchildren have been taking to social media and claiming that they are able to clearly identify them in the footage.
“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.
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. A major reason for this rise in violence can be attributed to the government crackdown against those protesting in the northwest and southwest regions, declaring that as the English-speaking minority they are deprecated by the French-speaking government.
Governor Deben Tchoffo spoke publicly about the kidnappings, stating: “It is rather unfortunate that this is happening, that 79 of our children and three of their staff can be picked up by terrorists. We have asked our military to do everything and bring back the kids alive.”
Samira Daoud, Amnesty International deputy regional director for West and Central Africa, had this to say about the event: “These appalling abductions show just how the general population is paying the highest price as violence escalates in the Anglophone region,” she shared with The Washington Post. “The abduction of schoolchildren and teachers can never be justified.”
Photo courtesy: Amy Humphries/Unsplash