United Nations condemns kidnap of students, staff in Cameroon

United Nations condemns kidnap of students, staff in Cameroon

United Nations condemns kidnap of students, staff in Cameroon

Armed men kidnapped 78 students from a Presbyterian school in the Nkwen village, Northwest Region Governor Deben Tchoffo said.

Earlier, a military source told Reuters that the school principal has been kidnapped along with the students.

This past year has marked a distressing period for Cameroon's Anglophone regions, as hundreds have lost their lives as a result of the violence that has cropped up between armed separatists and the military.

There have been kidnappings at other schools, but the latest group taken was the largest number abducted at one time in Cameroon's Anglophone regions.

Mr Fonki begged the kidnappers to free the staff members still being held.

The men who identified themselves as the kidnappers said they would only release the children when they attain their goal.

Today, President Paul Biya will be sworn in for a seventh term in office despite mass accusations of voter fraud during the election.

Most of Cameroon is French-speaking, while the country's western portion is populated by English speakers.

Dozens of school children who were taken hostage in Cameroon have been released, a church official has said.

The students were enrolled at the Presbyterian Secondary School in Bamenda, one of two areas where surging anglophone separatist militancy has been met with a brutal crackdown by authorities.

"The abduction of schoolchildren and teachers can never be justified", said Samira Daoud, the organization's deputy regional director for West and Central Africa.

The London-based human rights advocacy organisation has expressed solidarity with the families of the children and called on Cameroonian authorities to "do everything in their power" to ensure all those abducted are freed unharmed.

At the end of a video believed to show some of the kidnapped students, the kidnapper turns the camera on himself.

Cameroon is split between majority French and minority English speaking regions - a legacy of the United Kingdom and France dividing the country between them after the First World War defeat of the original colonial power Germany.

Last week separatist militants attacked workers on a state-run rubber plantation in restive southwestern Cameroon, chopping off their fingers because the men had defied an order to stay away from the farms. Last week, an American missionary was fatally shot in the head while in his vehicle, apparently caught in crossfire between government soldiers and armed separatists in Bamenda.

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