• Press Release

Cameroon: 70 schoolchildren taken in mass abduction must be freed

November 5, 2018

A woman walks into Nigeria from Cameroon at a checkpoint border between Cameroon and Nigeria, in Mfum, in Cross Rivers State, southeast Nigeria, on February 1, 2018. The UN refugee agency on February 1, 2018 criticised Nigeria for breaching international agreements after the leader of a Cameroonian anglophone separatist movement and his supporters were extradited at Yaounde's request. Cameroon's government is fighting an insurgency by a group demanding a separate state for two regions that are home to most of the country's anglophones, who account for about a fifth of the population. Thousands of Cameroonians fled to the remote border region with Nigeria to escape from the violences in English-speaking southwest Cameroon. / AFP PHOTO / PIUS UTOMI EKPEI (Photo credit should read PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images)

Following the abduction of at least 70 schoolchildren in Cameroon’s Anglophone region, Samira Daoud, Amnesty International Deputy regional director for West and Central Africa said:

“These appalling abductions show just how general population is paying the highest price as violence escalates in the Anglophone region.

“The abduction of schoolchildren and teachers can never be justified. Whoever is responsible must release and return the victims immediately.

“We express solidarity with the families of these children and demand that the Cameroon authorities do everything in their power to ensure all the pupils and school staff are freed unharmed.

“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.”


Violence and unrest in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions escalated in late 2016 after a series of strikes and protests against what teachers, lawyers and students viewed as ongoing discrimination against Anglophones. They have since become a fertile ground for horrific human rights abuses on an almost daily basis. Armed separatists burned down schools and attacked teachers, while security forces have tortured people, open fired on crowds and destroyed villages in an ever-worsening spiral of violence.