With students safely returned, the church continues to pray for peace.
Kidnappers released this week the last of more than 80 hostages taken from a Presbyterian school in Cameroon amid an escalating crisis in the Central African country’s English-speaking regions.
Just over a week after being captured at gunpoint, the principal, dorm warden, and two remaining students were freed Monday, while the rest of the victims, students ages 11–17, were let go last week, Reuters reported.
The Presbyterian-run boarding school in the region’s capital, Bamenda, has been forced to shut down since the captors threatened further attacks.
The incident represents the latest of at least four school abductions over the past two months, and about a dozen over the past year, as unrest over disparities between Cameroon’s English-speaking North-West and South-West regions and the nation’s French-speaking majority turns increasingly violent. Another 11 boys had been taken from the same school the week before.
And the kidnappings, as heart-wrenching as they are, represent just a small portion of the violence that has left the Anglophone region on the brink of civil war.
An estimated 400 civilians have died in the dispute, including an American missionary caught in the crossfire last month, just weeks after moving to Cameroon. More than a quarter-million people have fled their homes and villages, and many who remain are desperate for security and resources.
Cameroon’s churches, whose cry for peace has intensified over the past few months, have suffered in the separatist conflict, with four church buildings taken over by military forces and at least 50 Christian-run primary schools, secondary schools, and hospitals affected, according to Gustav Ebai, information and communication secretary …
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