Yaounde: Over 80 people, including school students, were kidnapped from a school early on Monday in Bamenda of western Cameroon, said government and military sources. The abduction took place in the English-speaking region which is targeted by separatists for a breakaway state.

The kidnap took place in Presbyterian Secondary School in Bamenda, which is one of the two regions attacked by anglophone militants. Security forces have asked the local community to remain calm and have launched a rescue operation. A military source told Reuters, “In total, 81 people were kidnapped including the (school) principal. They were taken to the bush.” The pro-separatist activists had imposed curfews and demanded that schools be closed to express their protest against President Paul Biya’s French-speaking government.

In the year 2017, following a government crackdown on peaceful demonstrations, a separatist movement emerged. The protest led to people fleeing Bamenda and other centres to take refuge in peaceful Francophone regions. A disruption in the presidential election occurred in Cameroon’s two English-speaking regions.

(With Agency inputs)