November 6, 2018: Mass kidnap of 70+ students shocks Cameroon
November 6, 2018 | Brainwave Science
On Monday morning, more than 79 students and three others, including the principal, were abducted from a school in Bamenda, the capital of the North-West Region in Cameroon.
So far, none of the many secessionist rebel groups has taken any responsibility for this attack.
The students of the Presbyterian Secondary School, aged between 10 and 14, are all boys. There is video being circulated on social media which shows the kidnapped boys crammed into a tiny room. They appear nervous as they are being made to say their names and where they are from.
The separatists want to carve out a new country Ambazonia out of Cameroon. They demand the independence of Cameroon’s English-speaking North-West and South-West regions. The militias have called for a school boycott.
The militias do not demand any ransom, according to the moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon, the Right Reverend Fonki Samuel Forba. He had spoken to the kidnappers. “All they want is for us to close the schools. We have promised to close the schools”, he told the BBC.
The government’s alleged failure to give due recognition to English legal and education systems in the North-west and South-west, led to mass protests by lawyers and teachers. The security forces cracked down on these protests in 2017 and this resulted in the emergence of Militias which demand the creation of Ambazonia.
The French speaking people have been allegedly given preference by the Government with regards to appointments to key posts. This has led to the marginalization of Cameroon’s English-speaking minority, which makes up about 20% of the population.
Extremists and terrorists have used kidnapping as a synonym for barter. It is used to help free their members from prison, for ransom demands, for secessionist demands, etc. The mass-kidnapping at Bamenda is linked to both national security and human trafficking.
In neighboring Nigeria, the school girls kidnapped from Chibok, faced traumatic conditions in the hands of the terrorist organization Boko Haram. Of the 276 girls kidnapped in April 2014, 13 are presumed dead and 112 are still missing. Not only has Boko Haram been using the kidnapped girls as negotiating pawns but also converted non-Islamic ones.
It is a challenge to prevent such kidnappings. It is also a herculean task to locate and rescue the abductees through conventional methods. Usually, the authorities give in to the demands, or the kidnappings result in the trafficking, torture and murder of the abductees.
Kidnappings are nothing new in this part of the world. The kidnapping of business people for ransom seems to be on the rise in African countries such as South Africa. This causes the people to live and do business in fear. The challenge is to quickly and confidently identify if a suspect has specific information related to a victim, crime, members of the criminal organization, modus operandi, terror network, etc.
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The Cameroonian agencies can use iCognative on the witnesses of these crimes, and suspected locals to reverse engineer the militia network and identify the top bosses. By using the power of iCognative by Brainwave Science the Cameroonian agencies can get valuable leads which can help bring the students back and break down the rebel network.
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News Source: BBC