Southern Cameroons Crisis: 145 students, teachers released after kidnapping in Bamenda
Gunmen released 145 students and teachers in a restive English-speaking region of Cameroon on Sunday, about 24 hours after their kidnapping, school authorities said. The students and teachers were abducted early Saturday from a private college in Northwest, one of the two war-torn English-speaking regions of Cameroon.
School officials told Xinhua that only 11 students and three teachers were kidnapped, but “further investigation” revealed that the actual number stood at more than 100.
“After further investigation we realized 145 were kidnapped, among them three teachers. They have all been released unharmed. They got to the school this night. They will be reuniting with their families on Sunday,” Rev. Oliver Shey, a senior administrator of the school, told Xinhua.
“We did not pay any ransom,” he added, without saying who had kidnapped them and for what reason. The government and armed separatists have been engaged in a blame-game of rampant kidnappings in the strife-torn regions.
The government regularly accuses separatists of the abductions while the separatists insist that they were staged by the government to tarnish their image internationally.
Armed separatists fighting for the “independence” of the two Anglophone regions of Northwest and Southwest in Cameroon have been clashing with government forces since November 2017.
The separatists have ordered the closure of schools in the regions. Local authorities said the separatists have torched more than 100 schools that insist to operate.