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Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Swearing of Biya: Secessionists' coup

Cameroonian President Paul Biya, 85, of whom 36 are in power, is sworn in on Tuesday for a seventh mandate in a climate of tension, following the kidnapping of 79 students in the English-speaking zone hit by armed conflict.

"The president-elect" of Cameroon, Paul Biya, will take an oath Tuesday at 11:00 am (10:00 GMT), announced the presidency in a statement.

The mayor of Yaoundé has asked residents and dance groups to go out en masse to ovation the head of state along the route he will take to go to the National Assembly where the ceremony is scheduled.

On the eve of the service, 82 people, including 79 students, were abducted by unidentified gunmen in Bamenda, capital of the English-speaking region of the north-west, who broke into Presbyterian Secondary School. Protestant.

"The search for the hostages has been launched, the mobilization is total," according to a government source.

In a six-minute video obtained by AFP, eleven teenagers of fifteen years declined one by one, in English, their identity, and indicate to have been kidnapped by the "Amba boys", the English separatists.

"We will open our own schools here, we will stay together and fight for the + Ambazonie +", the state that the separatists intend to create, says a man at the microphone of the phone filming the scene.

In the same region of North-West, the sub-prefect of the district of Noni was also removed Sunday.

In the two English-speaking regions of the North-West and South-West, an unprecedented socio-political crisis took hold at the end of 2016, which turned into armed conflict at the end of 2017.

Clashes between the army and separatists, grouped in scattered groups in the equatorial forest, have been happening there almost every day for several months.

The separatists have declared a boycott of schools, believing that the French school system marginalizes English-speaking students.

Since the announcement of the re-election of President Paul Biya at the end of the presidential election of October 7, the situation in these regions has further deteriorated, as the political climate, dozens of opponents have been arrested.

On 30 October, an American missionary was shot dead in his vehicle in Bambili, a suburb of Bamenda. The reasons for his assassination remain unknown, but the state has accused the "terrorists" of being at the origin of his death while Washington spoke of "crossfire".

Events planned

In anticipation of possible disturbances that may occur during the oath of Mr. Biya, re-elected for a seventh term with 71.28% of the votes, police and gendarmes have been deployed for several days in several areas of Yaounde and other cities.

Opponent Maurice Kamto, who is claiming victory in the polls, called on his supporters to resist by peaceful action.Several events are planned Tuesday in Cameroon and abroad.

But, on the spot, Yaoundé has decided to suppress any hint of protest.

On Sunday, 38 militants of the Movement for the Renaissance of Cameroon (MRC), the party of Mr. Kamto, were arrested in Bafoussam (West) while they participated in a peaceful march against the "electoral hold-up" in favor of President Biya.

More than 60 others, including lawyers, had already been arrested before being released in Douala (south) and Yaoundé, but several were charged.

Ranked second with 14.23% of the vote, Kamto asked the international community to recount the votes. The opponent claims that the election was marked by "massive and barbaric frauds" in spite of which "the Constitutional Council decided to proclaim Paul Biya winner on the basis of the documents produced for the occasion by the authorities of the power... "

" You fought, you lost and that's enough, "Gregory Owona, minister and deputy secretary-general of the Democratic Rally of the Cameroonian People (CPDM), retorted on Facebook.

Source: AFP