79 schoolers, 3 teachers kidnapped in Anglophone region of Cameroon: minister

YAOUNDE, Nov. 5 (Xinhua) — Seventy-nine children and three teachers were kidnapped late Sunday in Northwest, one of the war-torn English-speaking regions of Cameroon, Cameroon’s minister of communication Issa Tchiroma told Xinhua on Monday.

“All measures from the civilian and military are being taken to make sure the children and members of staff are brought back safe and alive. We are in search of their hideout,” said Tchiroma, who is also a government spokesperson.

A security source had earlier told Xinhua that the schoolers and teachers were kidnapped from a private school named Presbyterian Secondary School (PSS) Nkwen in Bamenda, regional capital of the Northwest.

According to the minister, the children were abducted by armed separatists whom he called “terrorists”.

“They will claim ransom. This is the purpose of their criminal act,” he said.

The governor of the region, Adolphe Lele Lafrique, visited the school and assured parents and teachers of their safety.

“Security will be beefed up. Parents are advised not to take their children home,” Lafrique said.

A latest video released by one of the well-known armed separatist leaders, Eric Tataw, showed 11 of the students looking frightened and being questioned by armed separatists.

Tataw said the children were kidnapped by the armed separatists on Sunday.

“They’re 11 students. Nothing more, nothing less. You can count the number of students as they introduce themselves in this video. We have called for their release,” Tataw said on his Facebook page.

Armed separatists fighting for the “independence” of the two Anglophone regions of Northwest and Southwest in Cameroon have been clashing with government forces since October last year.

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.

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