Gunmen released 170 students and their teacher in a restive English-speaking region of Cameroon on Sunday, two days after their abduction, school authorities said.
“They took away 170 students, 2 college security guards, one teacher and three of his kids. The abductees were released sometime in the afternoon of Sunday 17 February 2019. Shortly after that, they assembled in the main mission station of St Paul’s Parish, Kikaikom.
From there, they were conveyed by the authorities of the Diocese of Kumbo, back to the college Campus in the evening of 17 February 2018, arriving the campus about 8:30 p.m.,” Elvis Nsaikila, Kumbo diocesan director of communications, said in a statement shortly after their release.
According to the school authorities, the students and their teacher were abducted early Saturday “by unidentified gunmen” from St Augustine’s College, a Catholic secondary school in Kumbo, a town in Northwest, one of the two war-torn English-speaking regions of Cameroon.
“School authorities have requested parents and guardians to come and take their children back home as soon as possible. The school has closed down,” Nsaikila said, adding that the two days of captivity were of “grave concern and anxiety.”
A local official who requested anonymity said more than 50 other people that had been abducted alongside the students were leased.
“They have all returned home,” the official said.
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 are 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. Enditem