Cameroon school kidnap: 81 students taken in Nkwen village swoop

80 people, mostly school children, kidnapped in Cameroon

80 people, mostly school children, kidnapped in Cameroon

A video purportedly showing some of the kidnapped students from Bamenda's Presbyterian Secondary School has been shared online, sparking outrage. "You will be going to school now here", say the men, who identified themselves as Amba boys.

According to Journalducameroon.com, the gunmen stormed the Presbyterian Secondary School Nkwen before rounding off the students to an unknown destination.

There have been kidnappings at other schools, but the group taken Sunday was the largest number abducted at one time in Cameroon's Anglophone regions.

The separatists say that the Cameroon school system suppresses the English-speaking system that the North-West and South-West regions inherited from the British.

They were kidnapped with three school staff members, but Tchiroma said their fate was not yet clear.

The separatists in Cameroon have been protesting against the French-speaking government led by president Paul Biya and demanding a separate state.

The boys also said they were taken by the armed men late Sunday and didn't know where they were being held.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the abduction in the English-speaking region where separatists are fighting to form a breakaway state. Biya, who has been in office since 1982, is set to be inaugurated tomorrow.

"We urge an immediate halt to the indiscriminate targeting of civilians and burning of houses by Cameroonian government forces and to attacks perpetrated by. anglophone separatists", State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement. The separatists also have torched at least a hundred schools and driven out students and teachers from buildings taken over as training grounds.

"We shall only release you after the struggle".

While the video could not be independently verified, parents have been reacting on social media saying they recognise their children in the video.

Mr Biya was credited with 71.3pc of the vote, although the ballot was marred by allegations of widespread fraud, low voter turnout and violence.

Many people have fled Bamenda and other centres to seek refuge in more peaceful Francophone regions.

Around a fifth of Cameroon's 22m people are English-speaking - a minority whose presence dates back to the colonial period.

Cameroon's president demanded anglophone separatists lay down their arms after dozens of schoolchildren were seized in a kidnapping the army blamed on the rebels. The government did away with presidential term limits several years ago, part of a trend in Africa that has dismayed many.

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