Cameroon school kidnap: More than 70 pupils seized in Bamenda

All 78 child hostages released in Cameroon, two teachers held
Dozens of people, mostly school pupils, have been kidnapped from a boarding school in the west of Cameroon. At least 79 students and three others, including the principal, were seized early on Monday morning in Bamenda, the capital of the North-West region, a government official has told the BBC. A massive search operation involving the Cameroonian army is now under way. Cameroon’s North-West and South-West regions have been hit by a secessionist rebellion in recent years. Regional governor Adolphe Lele L’Afrique blamed separatist militias for the kidnapping. Militias, who have been demanding the independence of the two English-speaking regions, have called for a school boycott. But no single group has said it carried out the kidnapping at Bamenda’s Presbyterian Secondary School, which has pupils aged between 10 and 14.
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.” Amba is short for Ambazonia, the name of the new country that the separatists want to create. 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.

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