Suspected militants reportedly kidnapped at least 78 people, mostly students, from Presbyterian Secondary School in Bamenda (Northwest region) on Sunday, November 4. Central government officials have blamed Anglophone separatists for the kidnapping, although no group has immediately claimed responsibility for the abduction. Local reports claim the unidentified gunmen have demanded a "school boycott" and have reportedly released a video featuring the abducted students. Further such incidents are possible in the near term as tensions between Anglophone separatists and the government have become increasingly violent in recent months.
Separatists' calls for school boycotts come as unidentified gunmen kidnapped five students from a bilingual school in Bamenda on October 19. Tensions between the country's minority English-speaking community and the national authorities remain high in the Northwest and Southwest regions amid an ongoing separatist movement.
The period since November 2016 has been marked by the closure of English-speaking schools, strikes, unrest, and violence. These tensions have escalated considerably since October 2017, when secessionists unilaterally proclaimed independence in the region. The fighting has forced tens of thousands of civilians to flee over the border into Nigeria.
Individuals in Northwest and Southwest regions are advised to closely monitor the situation, follow all instructions issued by the local authorities (particularly curfews), and avoid protests or large gatherings due to the risk of associated violence.
On a separate note, some Western governments advise against travel to the Far North region as well as other areas bordering Nigeria, Chad, and the Central African Republic (CAR); travel to these areas should only be considered with appropriate security protocols in place.
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