Published: Tue, November 06, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Massive search launched for 79 school children kidnapped in Cameroon

Massive search launched for 79 school children kidnapped in Cameroon

In the video, the kidnappers force about six of the children to give their names and the names of their parents.

The children say they were kidnapped late on Sunday (local time) by the armed men and they don't know where they are being held. But it reported that some parents said on social media that they recognized their children in the video.

The government and English-speaking separatists have accused each other of orchestrating the kidnapping.

Violent separatists took up arms to destabilise the Anglophone regions to win independence for the areas they want to declare a separate state, which they call Ambazonia. "They were taken to the bush", a military source told Reuters.

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

24 hours after the abduction, survivors say that armed men broke into the facility in the early hours of Monday morning.

The students were abducted along with their principal, a teacher and a driver, the official said, as a source at the school confirmed the kidnapping of the pupils.

The separatist movement gathered pace in 2017 after a government crackdown on peaceful demonstrations.

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More than 80 people, mostly students, were kidnapped from a school in the city of Bamenda in western Cameroon by gunmen on Sunday, government and military sources said.

One of the original gripes was that French-speaking teachers were being deployed to English-speaking schools in the north-west and south-west regions.

An American missionary also died in the northwest region around Bamenda when he was shot in the head amid fighting between separatists and soldiers. Tensions increased after Biya was easily reelected last month for a seventh term in office.

The AP said it could not independently confirm that the video was made by the kidnappers.

According to United Nations figures, 246,000 people in the Southwest Region have fled their homes, and 25,000 have sought shelter in neighbouring Nigeria, many of them living hand-to-mouth in the forests.

On 19 October, five students of the Atiela Bilingual High School were taken by unidentified gunmen.

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

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