Fresh details have emerged over the abduction of some 78 students and officials of the Nkwen Presbyterian Secondary School in capital of Cameroon’s northwest, Bamenda.
24 hours after the abduction, survivors say that armed men broke into the facility in the early hours of Monday morning.
They told Africanews, the abductors damaged school property and beat other children before committing the crime.
We will ensure that all students who have been abducted are back into their classrooms and measures are being taken by the security forces in this regard.
“When they came, we hid under our beds. But they asked us to get out of there and into the yard. They knocked on some of them, as there were not more than 100 of us.
“They went to open the other dormitory but as it was blocked they demanded that the students open it or they would shoot them. And the students opened the other dormitories and they got us all out’‘, one survivor whose names was not provided said.
Governor of the northwest region, Adolphe Lele Lafrique urged calm.
“I am here on behalf of the Head of State and Government to calm tensions down and reassure parents, students and the educational community that despite what is happening here, the government will not cower.
“We will ensure that all students who have been abducted are back into their classrooms and measures are being taken by the security forces in this regard,” Lafrique said.
In the absence of a guard and police protection, the attackers were able to abscond freely. The army which was called in as reinforcements was unable to trace the children and their abductors in the immediate aftermath.
The Cameroonian government has promised a swift response to this mass kidnapping. The abductors are not yet known.
Meanwhile, in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon, leaders of the secessionist movement are struggling to identity the group behind the abduction.