Local authorities reported on Tuesday that at least 50 individuals were kidnapped in two distinct incidents that occurred over a span of two days in northern Cameroon.
According to the mayor of Touboro town, Celestin Yandal, the kidnappings took place on Sunday and Monday afternoons. The perpetrators, who are an unidentified armed group, carried out these incidents near the border with Chad.
According to a local mayor, approximately 50 citizens from Chad and Cameroon have been abducted.
When speaking to MMI, Celestin Yandal confirmed that on Sunday, suspected bandits ambushed and targeted Chadian traders. The traders were returning home from the Touboro market, where they engaged in cattle trading.
According to the mayor, the initial kidnapping occurred in the vicinity of Touboro and Koutere towns. The victims primarily consisted of Chadian individuals, along with a few individuals from Cameroon, including students and shopkeepers.
He went on to explain that the second abduction took place while individuals were traveling on a bus from Ngaoundere city to Touboro.
Additional individuals, such as students and those heading back towards the Chadian border, were also abducted while leaving from Chad for Cameroon, the mayor further confirmed.
So far, seven individuals have been released. Abductions frequently occur in this area, although the locals claim that the magnitude of these attacks is uncommon.
The Chadian Ministry of Public Security has confirmed that their forces have successfully freed eight individuals who were previously kidnapped.
The Cameroon government in Yaounde, specifically the Ministry of Defence, has so far not commented on the incident. However, a security official has stated that soldiers are currently working to free the remaining abducted individuals.
Cameroon is plagued by conflict and insecurity in most of its ten regions. The most prominent is what has become known as the Anglophone crisis, which has been an ongoing conflict since 2017 when English-speaking separatists initiated a rebellion in the country. Their objective was to establish an independent, English-speaking state separate from the predominantly French-speaking region.
Both the government of Cameroon and the separatists have been found to have committed several severe acts of violence against innocent civilians. According to the United Nations, the conflict has resulted in the deaths of over 3,300 individuals and has forced more than 750,000 people to flee their homes. Experts argue that the actual figures are likely higher, given that the conflict is largely underreported.
Cameroon has been under the leadership of President Paul Biya for over four decades and the 90-year-old has so far not indicated the willingness to leave power.