- Title: Parents of kidnapped school children in Cameroon seek answers
- Date: 6th November 2018
- Summary: BAMENDA, NORTH WEST REGION, CAMEROON (NOVEMBER 6, 2018) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF PARENTS OF CHILDREN FROM PSS NKWEN WHERE CHILDREN WERE KIDNAPPED OUTSIDE SCHOOL MAN LISTENING PARENTS LOOKING ON, WAITING FOR INFORMATION FOUNDER OF SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC FRONT, SENIOR POLITICIAN FROM THE REGION, JOHN FRU NDI, WHO HAS COME TO APPEAL TO PARENTS TO GO HOME AS THEY AWAIT INFORMATION ABOUT THEIR CHILDREN ADDRESSING CROWD (R) AND UNIDENTIFIED SCHOOL ADMINISTRATOR (L) SPEAKING TO PARENTS PARENTS LISTENING FRU NDI SPEAKING TO PARENTS (SOUNDBITE) (English) FOUNDER OF SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC FRONT, SENIOR POLITICIAN FROM REGION, JOHN FRU NDI, SAYING "Please, the situation is complicated because from all the evidence that is reaching us are that these are not the real Amba (Ambazonian) Anglophone fighters. They are criminals and when you have a criminal or even a lion, grab that child on the hand (meaning to protect children from criminals)." (SOUNDBITE) (English) SCHOOL ADMINISTRATOR, NAME UNKNOWN, EXPLAINING WHY PARENTS OF CHILDREN WHO WERE NOT KIDNAPPED HAVE NOT BEEN GIVEN ACCESS TO THEIR CHILDREN, SAYING: "It is true that some of the children are in the bushes (kidnapped). It is very clear that it will be difficult to handle the issues of the parents whose children are not here. That is the main issue. So we told them in the morning to be patient. The parents whose children are not here will not be able to handle that issue." PARENTS IN FRONT OF SCHOOL BUILDING PARENT WHO HAS NOT SEEN HIS CHILD, DAVID FRU, (L) WALKING WITH ANOTHER PARENT FRU PUTTING ON COAT AND WALKING TOWARDS OTHER PARENTS FRU TALKING TO OTHER PARENTS (SOUNDBITE) (English) PARENT WHO HAS NOT SEEN HIS CHILD, DAVID FRU, SAYING: "I am not happy with the handling (of the situation by the school and the authorities) because I have not seen the children and the promises they are giving (they made promises) even I have not had any official kind of approach from the Cameroonian administration so I can't say that I am happy with the way that they have handled the issue." REPORTER ASKING: "Have you seen the video of the 11 boys said to have been taken hostage?" "Yeah, I saw the video last night and that video, there was one man with a thick beard among the kids and that video, I don't think it actually speaks well for itself because you cannot kidnap children on Sunday and by Monday you already have a video. It means it's something that was planned itâ€™s not actually something that just happened." SIGN READING (English): "PSS NKWEN OUR GOLDEN LANTERN - AN ACADEMIC HEAVEN" PARENTS OUTSIDE SCHOOL WAITING WOMEN SITTING OUTSIDE SCHOOL PARENTS SITTING ON WALL WAITING TABI NFOR, WHO HAS TWO CHILDREN WHOM ATTEND THE SCHOOL (SOUNDBITE) (French) PARENT OF TWO CHILDREN AT SCHOOL, TABI NFOR, SAYING "Anyone would be disturbed (by the kidnapping) anyone would be. I have a child in 'Premiere' (penultimate year before the final baccalaureate school exams) and I have a child in Third (three years before the end of the final school exam) so I have been really disturbed since yesterday, I can't eat, I am so disturbed." VARIOUS OF PARENTS WAITING TO HEAR INFORMATION ABOUT THEIR CHILDREN
- Embargoed: 20th November 2018 16:10
- Keywords: Children kidnapped in Cameroon Anglophone crisis Biya Separatists Secessionists
- Location: BAMENDA, CAMEROON
- City: BAMENDA, CAMEROON
- Country: Cameroon
- Topics: Crime/Law/Justice
- Reuters ID: LVA00195DCMYV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Parents of children from the Bamenda school where 79 pupils were kidnapped on Monday morning in Cameroon have been seeking answers after seeing a video on social media showing 11 children believed to have been filmed by one of the kidnappers who turns the camera on himself at the end showing a man with a beard.
They also said on Tuesday (November 6) they could not understand why authorities were not allowing them to see those children who were not taken hostage. Some 200 parents stood outside PSS Nkwen school all day determined to find out if their children were amongst those kidnapped and take the others home.
In the video, the children say they all come from PSS Nkwen school and the alleged kidnapper says he will keep the children "until the struggle finishes" for the "Ambazonian land", or independence.
Senior politician and the founder of Cameroon's Social Democratic Front party John Fru Ndi said he did not believe the children were taken by separatists after looking at the video on social media.
"From all the evidence that is reaching us these are not the real Amba (Ambazonian) Anglophone fighters. They are criminals," he told the parents referring to the armed men who took the children. Separatists are referred to as Amba Boys after Ambazonia, the name they have given to the independent state they want to set up in English-Speaking North West and South West Cameroon.
A school administrator said the reason the parents of the children who have not been taken hostage were not yet allowed to see them was because they did not want to upset the parents of the children that had been kidnapped.
"The parents whose children are not here will not be able to handle that issue," he said.
One parent said he was angry about the situation adding that he found the video of the children on social media confusing and misleading.
"I am not happy with the handling (of the situation by the school and the authorities) because I have not seen the children," said David Fru, a parent who added that he was suspicious of the video because it came out too soon: "that video I don't think it actually speaks well for itself because you cannot kidnap children on Sunday and by Monday, you already have a video. It means it was something that was planned it's not actually something that just happened."
Another parent said he was worried sick about his two children at the school.
Amnesty International's West and Central Africa Deputy Regional Director Samira Daoud said in a statement yesterday that who ever kidnapped the children must release them immediately.
"In a case with a chilling echo of the 2014 kidnappings of the Chibok schoolgirls in Nigeria, it is vital that Cameroon's government act swiftly and decisively to reunite these children with their loved ones," the statement read.
Samuel Fonki, a minister of the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon, said he had been mediating with the kidnappers for the children's release. He said separatists were responsible.
The secessionists have imposed curfews and closed schools as part of their rebellion against the French-speaking government, which they say has marginalised the Anglophone minority.
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