YAOUNDE, April 12 (Xinhua) -- Six students -- five boys and one girl -- of a government secondary school have been kidnapped in Fongo Tongo, a locality in western Cameroon, a local government official said Friday.
"The children were kidnapped as they were helping their parents in farming. We have no idea where they are since their abduction. The kidnappers initially asked for ransom but did not contact the family again when they realized they could not pay," Amiya Balise Ndongana, senior government official of Fongo Tongo, told reporters, blaming the armed separatists for the abduction.
Fongo Tongo is located in francophone West Region which shares boundary with troubled Anglophone region of Northwest where separatists fighting to create an independent nation have been clashing with government forces.
It is the first time that students were kidnapped in a border francophone region since the separatists picked up arms in November 2017.
"They have attacked this section of the country in the past, so we know that they kidnapped the children. Defense and security forces have launched a thorough search for the children and we hope that they will be rescued safe and alive," he said.
Separatists have not claimed responsibility. Since the end of last year, students have been constantly abducted and then released in the English-speaking part of Cameroon by some radical separatists.