On Monday morning, armed separatists in the Cameroon’s tumultuous Northwest region kidnapped the students and principal of a local Presbyterian school (Reuters 1). The kidnappers, who call themselves the “Amba Boys”, released a video showing the student hostages and demanding the creation of a news state (AP). Samuel Fonki, a reverend for a Presbyterian church in Cameroon, says the separatists are responsible and he is negotiating for the release of the students (Reuters 1). The local governor, Deben Tchoffo, told the media “it is rather unfortunate…we have asked our military to do everything and bring back the kids alive” (AP).
The name “Amba boys” likely refers to the “Ambazonia,” an English-speaking state that Cameroonian separatists wish to establish in the French-speaking nation (al-Jazeera 1). English-speakers in Cameroon claim discrimination after being forced to speak French to obtain good jobs, and many who protest these government policies are imprisoned (Reuters 3). The conflict turned violent in 2016 when the government opened fire on a protest of lawyers and teachers who opposed the government’s language restrictions (Reuters 3). Thousands have fled, and hundreds have died in the ensuing conflicts, as clashes between the military and the separatists harm the local civilian population (al Jazeera 2).
Tags: kidnapping, Cameroon, Seperatists, Amba boys