Updated: February 28, 2021
Three kidnapped students of the university of Bamenda in the restive North West region of Cameroon have been released.
They were reportedly freed by the alleged fighters belonging to an armed group of Cameroons’ separatist movement, 48 hours after they were abducted.
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Local media reported that the gun wielding kidnappers invaded the school on Tuesday, March 5, before taking their victims to an unknown location.
Colette, a major of the English Department was among the kidnapped victims.
It was still unclear how the students were released since they have elected to stay away from public eye and not narrate their story, probably for fear of drawing attention to themselves and their family. It is however suspected that they might have paid a ransom before regaining their freedom.
One student who narrowly escaped the claws of the kidnappers revealed that the gunmen were three in number when they stormed the Bambui-based campus on Tuesday evening and took away the students. “My classmate is one of those kidnapped,” the witness told online platform, MimiMefoInfo.
The same platform equally reported that the students who were released early Thursday had been tortured and warned to stay away from school.
Attacks on schools and the kidnapping of students is a recurrent phenomenon in the two English speaking regions of Cameroon. Separatists fighters and loyalists have sworn to disrupt school activities leading to the forceful shutdown of educational establishments due to security concerns.
In recent times, students, teachers, government officials and the populace of the restive North-West and South-West regions, in general, have been faced with rampant kidnappings and ransom collection by armed fighters who claim to belong to the armed groupings of Cameroon separatist movement.
In December 2018, 12 students were kidnapped from the same institutions during their graduation ceremony by separatist fighters who circulated a video online threatening to “do away” with any other student caught in any school.
Dozens of students who decide to shun calls for school boycotts by separatist groups in the two restive regions have equally suffered the same faith forcing most parents to relocate their progeny to schools in the French-speaking towns.
Schools have equally been reduced to ashes by alleged separatist fighters drawing worldwide condemnation from international rights organization urging them (separatists) to restrain from using school children as bargaining chips. For three years now, effective school resumption in Cameroons’ two English-speaking regions is threatened by the deepening secessionist crisis that has plagued the country since 2016.