On Sunday night, 78 students and their principal were abducted from a Presbyterian school in Nkwen, near Bamenda in northwest Cameroon. The students are aged between 11 and 17.

We have been covering the deteriorating security situation in Cameroon for some time. Anglophone separatists started protesting against perceived marginalisation in 2016, and this has escalated in to a fatal cycle of violence and oppression. Abduction, arson, and deadly violence have been used by both sides. 

Last week we covered the death of an American missionary who was caught in the crossfire during one of the clashes near Bamenda.

The Guardian reports that the ‘security guards who usually man the entrance to the school were nowhere to be seen‘ at the time of the abduction. The same article carries an account from a student who was a witness to the attack, describing how militants banged on the doors of the dormitories and forced the children out of their hiding places. It seems no one was able to raise the alarm until the morning, when staff arriving for the day faced scenes of chaos.

Separatist demands and a pattern of attacks

An unverified video has been released which shows some of the children saying their names and their parents names, with many of them repeating “I was taken from school last night by the Amba boys and I don’t know where I am.” Amba is short for Ambazonia – the region that anglophone separatists want to create after independence from the rest of francophone Cameroon.

Samuel Fonki, a reverend for the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon, is mediating for the students release. He says the militants have asked for a ransom but did not specify the amount. They have also asked that the remaining students be sent home and that schools in the area be closed.

Six students were abducted from a school in Bamenda in October. It is not clear what has happened to them. Kidnap and violence has featured regularly in parts of Cameroon in recent months. Schools have been targeted as part of the secessionist efforts of the militants –

Troubled election and fake news

President Biya was sworn in for a seventh term on Tuesday. There have been protests in the wake of the recent election, with some groups demanding a recount due to corruption.

The day after the vote, state broadcaster CRTV aired a press conference in which six supposed representatives of Transparency International (TI) endorsed the election and the results – except they were not what they claimed to be. TI released a statement saying the report was ‘false and untrue‘, as they had ‘no international election observation mission in Cameroon.’

Coverage from BBC Monitoring

Sources and headlines

Like what you read? You can sign up here for our free Daily Updates. We also send out a Weekly K+R Update, bundling together all the kidnap, ransom and extortion news of the week in one easy to read newsletter. (Sign up on the same form using the options at the end.)

If you found this post valuable, please show your appreciation by buying us a coffee. Thank you.

Buy me a coffeeBuy me a coffee


Follow and subscribe!

Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. You can also subscribe to our free newsletters - the Daily Updates and the Weekly K+R Update.