Cameroon: Kidnapping at Catholic school in Kumbo

| February 18th, 2019

There is more bad news from Cameroon and again from the town of Kumbo where ICN reported deaths through violent action by security forces. (*See link below)

A kidnapping occurred at 5 am local time on Saturday 16 February at St Augustine’s Secondary College, a Catholic school. Secessionist rebels supporting setting up a new state ‘Ambazonia’ entered the school and kidnapped at least 145 pupils, the majority girls, who were subsequently released.

Early reports suggested a figure nearer 200 including members of staff but this has not been corroborated. The number is lower than it would have been in the daytime during the working week.

Kumbo is the second largest centre in the North West Region, having its own bishop. It is 110 km from Bamenda where a Presbyterian school suffered a kidnapping and whose auxiliary bishop Michael Bibi was twice kidnapped while travelling on church business.

This is in the context of legitimate grievances by English speakers against the government led by French speakers seeking to impose their language on the educational and legal systems.

Cameroon’s 86 year-old President Paul Biya, in power for 36 years, was declared re-elected recently. His main opponent Maurice Kamto has been arrested and charged with rebellion.

Philip Egan, bishop of Bamenda’s twinned diocese Portsmouth, has urged his flock to write to the Minister for Africa Harriett Baldwin urging the British government to bring pressure on Cameroon to reduce local tensions.
*See: ICN 1 February 2019 – Cameroon: Eyewitness reports horrific scenes in Kumbo Town –