Mr. Tem Gerald Akebai, the Principal of Government High School (GHS) Benakuma in the Menchum Valley Subdivision of the Northwest Region of Cameroon, has been freed from captivity. This development follows a distressing video released just days ago, in which he pleaded for urgent intervention.
The school Principal had been taken captive by separatists advocating for an independent state called ‘Ambazonia’ in Cameroon’s English-speaking regions, an ongoing conflict that began in 2016.
Mr. Akebai was seized by one of the separatist armed groups on Wednesday, October 18, 2023, while en route to his duty post in Benakuma. Teachers are often labeled as ‘black legs’ by separatists, implying they are perceived as traitors to the pursuit of independence.
Benakuma is one of the localities, hardest hit by the ongoing Anglophone Crisis in Cameroon.
In a heartfelt plea for his life captured in a video that circulated widely last week, Mr. Akebai implored friends and relatives to meet the demands of his captors and facilitate his release.
The separatists, beyond their pursuit of independence, have engaged in a pattern of abducting civilians, demanding ransoms from their families for release.
While Mr. Akebai’s plea for his life gained widespread attention, a separatist named Prince J. Carr, based in the diaspora, attempted to justify the abduction by claiming that the teacher “had broken the law.”
“Our restoration forces are well-educated; if he is arrested, there must be a reason for his arrest. In our seven-year struggle, our restoration forces have not harmed a single civilian from La Republic in our territory. Do not underestimate them,” Carr declared on Facebook.
Carr is among several individuals in the diaspora who have defended the kidnapping and harm inflicted on civilians in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions.
This incident comes in the wake of another grim episode a few weeks ago, where hundreds of relatives gathered in Limbe to mourn six government delegates who were kidnapped, killed, and buried by separatist fighters in 2021.