FREE AT LAST! 79 Abducted Pupils Freed In Cameroon
After spending 48 hours in the 'kidnappers' den', 79 school pupils of Presbyterian Secondary School in Bamenda, capital of Cameroon, have regained their freedom.
The kidnappings on Monday were the first such mass abductions seen in Cameroon and coincide with an upsurge of political tensions in the majority French-speaking country.
“All 79 students have been released,” said Issa Bakary Tchiroma, without giving details of the circumstances under which they were set free.
The students were enrolled at the Presbyterian Secondary School in Bamenda, capital of Cameroon’s Northwest Region — one of two areas where surging anglophone separatist militancy has been met with a brutal crackdown by authorities.
They were kidnapped with three school staff members, but Tchiroma said their fate was not yet clear.
The students’ release comes a day after Cameroon’s 85-year-old President Paul Biya was sworn in for a seventh term in office.
A six-minute video seen by AFP on Monday, but which could not be confirmed independently, showed 11 boys apparently aged about 15 giving their identity and name of the school in English, and adding that they were abducted by the “Amba Boys” — a name for anglophone separatists.
While such mass kidnappings were previously unknown in Cameroon, the abduction came after two major such incidents in neighbouring Nigeria, where the Islamist group Boko Haram snatched more than 200 schoolgirls from the Borno state town of Chibok in April 2014.
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