Abducted Cameroon examinations board boss set free

The Cameroon General Certificate of Education (GCE) board chairman, Prof Ivo Leke Tambo, who was seized by suspected armed separatists on March 17 in his native Lebialem Division in the Southwest. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

A Cameroon national examinations board chief who was abducted in the restive English-speaking Southwest Cameroon, been set free.

Douala-based Equinoxe TV Monday evening reported that Prof Ivo Leke Tambo, the chairman of the Cameroon General Certificate of Education (GCE) board, had been released from captivity.

Prof Tambo was seized by suspected armed separatists on Saturday in his native Lebialem Division.

Lebialem-based journalist Jude Njinjuh also said Prof Tamboa had been set free.

Ransom demanded

"Yes; Prof Tambo has been released and he is now in Dschang," Mr Njinjuh told the Africareview on phone.

Dschang is a township in western Cameroon.

Mr Njinjuh, the manager of Alou Community Radio, said he did not know whether the $188,000 ransom demanded by the abductors had been paid.

The GCE boss's capture added to the linguistic difference crisis that has rocked Cameroon since late 2016.

A welfare officer of the Ministry of Social Affairs and regional delegate of the ministry for Northwest, Mr Nimbom Aaron Yong, was last month kidnapped in the town of Batibo.

It was the second abduction in the locality within three weeks, coming after that of the Batibo divisional officer who was sized on February 11.

Momo Senior Divisional Officer (SDO) Absalom Monono Woloa, said the regional delegate was abducted and his service vehicle set on fire.

The leader of the Ambazonia Governing Council (AGC), Mr Lucas Cho Ayaba, later said forces loyal to the separatist movement; the Ambazonia Defence Forces (ADF), carried out the abduction of the regional delegate.

A federal system

“We got him,” Mr Ayaba wrote on social media following the abduction of Mr Yong.

The anglophone Cameroonians are agitating for secession after the predominantly francophone Yaoundé government reneged on a pre-unification deal.

On February 11, 1961 a plebiscite was held on whether Southern Cameroons (today's English-speaking Northwest and Southwest regions) which had already obtained independence from Britain would join Nigeria or the Republic of Cameroon, which had obtained independence from France.

Voters elected to become part of French speaking Cameroon under a federal system. The plebiscite day was henceforth celebrated in Southern Cameroons as “Empire Day” until five years later when the government turned it into a National Youth Day in what historians say was a distortion of facts.

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