A year after hostilities began in Cameroon, and a week after an American Baptist Missionary was killed due to the fighting, 79 students have now been kidnapped from the PSS Nkwen school in Bemenda in the Northwest region of Cameroon.
The kidnapping has been blamed on separatist militias. A video released by the kidnappers, calling themselves the “Amba Boys” shows the students, all boys, crammed into a tiny room. As they were filmed each one repeated 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 country that the English speaking separatists of southwestern Cameroon hope to create.
The militias initially demanded a school boycott, but are now stating that they will only release the students after the creation of their new state.
“We shall only release you after the struggle. You will be going to school now here,” said the men.
These are not the first students to have been kidnapped, but they are the largest group. Schools have also been burned or taken over as grounds for training for the separatists.
““These appalling abductions show just how the general population is paying the highest price as violence escalates in the Anglophone region,” said Samira Daoud, Amnesty International deputy regional director for West and Central Africa. “The abduction of schoolchildren and teachers can never be justified.””
A massive search for the students is underway, and a minister of the Presbyterian Church, Samuel Fonki, has been attempting to mediate with the kidnappers for the release of the students.
CDN is involved in the education of children and teens in Cameroon. We hope for the return of the students and their safety. Please give to help children and teens in Cameroon have an education and a chance for a better life.