United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, has condemned Monday’s reported kidnapping of students and staff of a secondary school in Bamenda, North-West region of Cameroon.
Guterres called for their immediate release and return to their homes and families, in a statement by his spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric.
“There can be no justification for these crimes against civilians, particularly minors,” the UN chief added.
No fewer than 79 students were reportedly abducted on Monday morning with their teacher, the principal and a driver.
The abduction has prompted a massive search operation involving the Cameroonian army.
One student who hid under a bed said that events unfolded quickly as the kidnappers threatened to shoot, rounding up the older boys and leaving the smaller ones behind.
While no group has taken responsibility for the kidnappings, some journalists report that separatists complain that the Cameroon school system suppresses the English-speaking system inherited from the British.
The Secretary-General reiterated the need for a peaceful solution to the crisis in the North-West and South-West regions of Cameroon through an inclusive dialogue process.
According to him, the UN stands ready to assist in this regard.