Kidnapping in Bamenda, Cameroon- “Attack on Education”

In recent news, Cameroonian students were told not to go back to school after being recently kidnapped and freed. One of the female students who was kidnapped said that before her captors freed her, they told her to not return to school. Mathel Majum one of 76 students that were released on Wednesday, after his school was shot down. The gunmen carted the students away in Bamenda, northwest Cameroon. Two children, the school's Principal, and a teacher are still missing.

A group of 78 children were taken away from their Presbyterian secondary school. One girl gratefully managed to escape from the kidnappers. When interviewing Gavin Storch, he said, “It’s so tragic to hear  that something like this could happen at any school in this area and really anywhere.”

The kidnappers forced the group of 46 girls and 32 boys to go through bushes, and changed their hideout many times before being released. The kidnappers told the students since there is no peace in their country and that they should not return to school. The students were terrified and startled by the kidnappers. The kidnappers were armed at all times, and told the students not to be afraid. How could you not be frightened of someone carrying a gun, and how would you be able to trust them? When interviewing Victoria Bell, she said, “ If I were in the position of these students and adults, I would never feel safe, no one should have to go through this and let alone return back to school.”

When being held hostage, they did receive food at all times. The students explained that they received local traditional snacks like guava. For the most part, the students and the few adults did not suffer. The moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon realized that after the return of what was believed to be everyone, there were still two students missing. During medical checks, it became apparent that two students were still missing. According to some of the parents, 12 students with minor injuries, are still receiving treatment. When interviewing Rebecca Thompson, she said, “I can't believe something like this is happening so frequently in this area. I would be so scared to go to school, and I would never feel safe at school if this was happening.”

The act of kidnapping students at schools in Cameroon has become very popular this year, and it's making many students who go to school feel extremely scared and targeted. In Cameroon, many people are calling the kidnapping of students at school an “attack on education”. Adults in these areas are closing schools that are significantly targeted by these separatists to increase the safety of their loved ones.

Lili Noah