Cameroon inaugurate Biya for 7th term amid school kidnapping controversy

Cameroon’s President Paul Biya has been sworn in for a seventh term. 

The 85-year-old, who has ruled the country for 36 years, pledged to uphold the “integrity” and “unity” of the country in a ceremony overseen by parliamentary speaker Cavaye Yeguie Djibril.

Mr Biya secured 71% of the vote in the 7 October election but opposition parties said the election was marred by fraud. 

The ceremony was clouded by Monday’s kidnapping of 80 people, including 79 students, in a school in the restive North-West region. 

The government and separatists – who are pushing for an independent state in mainly English-speaking areas – have been trading accusations as to who is behind the kidnapping.

No group has said it carried out the kidnapping at Bamenda’s Presbyterian Secondary School, which has pupils aged between 10 and 14.

Some students who witnessed the abduction, describe hiding under their beds as the hostage-takers ransacked the building, selecting which children to abduct.

Anglophone activists had called for a boycott of all school in the west of Cameroon, until their demands for secession were met. 

They say the education system favours the majority French-speaking population and discriminates against English speakers.

Journalists say Cameroonian parents are now reluctant to send their children to school.

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