79 school students abducted in Anglophone Cameroon
Armed men have kidnapped at least 78 students and their principal from a Presbyterian school in Nkwen village in Cameroon’s restive northwest region, a governor said Monday.
The kidnapping late Sunday took place near Bamenda, the capital of the troubled English-speaking region, according to Governor Deben Tchoffo.
A video purportedly of the kidnapped children has been release on social media via men who call themselves Amba boys, a reference to the state of Ambazonia that armed separatists are trying to establish in Cameroon’s northwest and southwest regions.
In the video, the kidnappers force about six of the children to give their names and the names of their parents. The children say they were kidnapped late Sunday, and they don’t know where they are being held.
The men who identify themselves as the kidnappers say they will only release the children when they achieve what they want.
“We shall only release you after the struggle. You will be going to school now here,” say the men who identified themselves as Amba boys. While the video could not be independently verified, parents have been reacting on social media saying they recognize their children in the video.
Hundreds have been killed in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions in the past year, where violence between armed separatists and the military have increased since a government crackdown against protesters in the northwest and southwest regions who claim that as the English-speaking minority they are marginalized by the French-speaking government.
Violent separatists took up arms to destabilize the Anglophone regions to win independence for the areas they want to declare a separate state, which they call Ambazonia.
Last week separatist militants attacked workers on a state-run rubber plantation in restive southwestern Cameroon, chopping off their fingers because the men had defied an order to stay away from the farms.
An American missionary also died in the northwest region around Bamenda after he was shot in the head amid fighting between armed separatists and soldiers in northwestern Cameroon.
The turmoil in Cameroon comes as President Paul Biya, who has led since 1982, easily won a seventh term last month in an election that the United States says was marked by irregularities. The government did away with presidential term limits several years ago, part of a trend in Africa that has dismayed many.
Four photographs of Prime Minister Boris Johnson drinking at a Downing Street gathering when the UK was under lockdown have emerged just as his government braces for the release of a report into the so-called Partygate scandal. The photos, published by ITV News, show Johnson proposing a toast with a group of at least nine people next to a table with several bottles of alcohol and party food.
The United States is preparing to give monkeypox vaccines to close contacts of people infected and to deploy treatments, with five cases now either confirmed or probable and the number likely to rise, officials said Monday. All those infected so far in the United States have been men who had a relevant travel history. It also has around 100 million doses of an older generation vaccine, ACAM2000.
A captured Russian soldier who pleaded guilty to killing a civilian was sentenced by a Ukrainian court Monday to life in prison — the maximum — amid signs the Kremlin may, in turn, put on trial some of the fighters who surrendered at Mariupol's steelworks. Cities not under Russian control were constantly shelled, and one Ukrainian official said Russian forces targeted civilians trying to flee. Ukrainian prosecutors are investigating thousands of potential war crimes.
At least six people died and dozens were injured or missing under rubble after an unfinished high-rise building collapsed in southwestern Iran, officials said. "Parts of the 10-storey Metropol building, located in Abadan in Khuzestan province, collapsed," state television said. "Six people lost their lives and 27 others were injured in the disaster." Sniffer dogs were being used to search for dozens believed to be trapped.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin found mentions among TIME magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the category of political leaders. Amid the ongoing war between the two countries, the addition of the two most-talked about leaders of the year so far on the list is no surprise. What's interesting about the two leaders on the list is their description.