Last kidnapped Cameroon schoolboys released


Kidnappers freed the last of about 80 schoolboys taken hostage last week in a raid on a school in west Cameroon, a church minister who negotiated their release and a regional official said.

Armed men seized the children, their principal and other adults in Bamenda, a centre of the country’s troubled English-speaking region where separatists are fighting to form a breakaway republic called Ambazonia.

Most were freed last week, but two boys, the principal and a dormitory warden remained hostage until Monday.
“I can confirm all hostages are free,” said Louis Begne, regional government spokesman, without providing details. Samuel Fonki, Presbyterian Church minister who negotiated the release, confirmed everyone was freed.

The military and Fonki blamed the abduction on Anglophone separatists. Stopping children going to school is a favoured tactic of armed insurgents, who say schools spread government propaganda.

A spokesman for the separatists denied this and said the Cameroonian army was responsible for the kidnapping.