News & Conflicts

Breaking News: 79 students kidnapped in Bamenda have been released

We previously reported the 78 students and three others were seized early on Monday in Cameroon’s capital, Bamenda. According to Cameroon’s information minister, Issa Bakary Tchiroma said on Wednesday that all seventy-nine children who had been kidnapped in the English Speaking Northwest region, had been released. A driver was also released, but the school’s principal and a teacher are still being held.

“Praise God seventy-eight children and the driver have been released. The principal and one teacher are still with the kidnappers. Let us keep praying,” Samuel Fonki, a minister of the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon said.

According to the Presbyterian Church of Cameroon, the students were abandoned in one of their buildings in the town of Bafut, about 24km (15 miles) from Bamenda, BBC Reports.

The release was done peacefully… by unidentified gunmen. They [students] were brought into the church premises, the first information we got from them [kidnappers] is their call and they were telling us they intended to release the children yesterday [Tuesday] morning… but unfortunately, it rained so heavily that could not happen. So [on] the evening of yesterday [Tuesday], surprisingly and by God’s grace, the children were brought back to us.” – Rev Fonki Samuel, told the BBC’s Newsday programme about the release.

Cameroon’s authorities have blamed the kidnap on Anglophone separatist militias – who have called for schools in English-speaking regions to be closed. They want to create an independent state called Ambazonia. An Anglophone group, the Ambazonia International Policy Commission (AIPC), however, doesn’t believe this is true.

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