Fears of mass student kidnapping in Cameroon

BY: bbc.com

Dozens of people are feared to have been kidnapped from a school in the west of Cameroon.

At least 79 people have been abducted in Bamenda, the capital of the North-West region, anonymous government and military sources have been quoted by news agencies as saying.

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They were abducted by armed gunmen early on Monday, sources told the BBC.

Cameroon's North-West and South-West regions have been hit by a separatist rebellion in recent years.

Militias, who have been demanding the secession of the two English-speaking regions, have called for a school boycott.

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But no group has said it carried out the kidnapping.

Separatist rebellion

The militias, who want to create a new state of Ambazonia, began to emerge in 2017 after a security force crackdown on mass protests, led by lawyers and teachers, over the government's alleged failure to give enough recognition to the English legal and education systems in the North-West and South-West.

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The government was accused of relying heavily on people trained in the French legal and educational tradition to work in key posts and generally marginalising Cameroon's English-speaking minority, who make up about 20% of the population.

President Paul Biya, who has been in power since 1982, was recently re-elected for a seventh term with more than 70% of the vote.

Opposition parties allege that the poll was rigged, but legal attempts to overturn the result failed.