Paul Biya sworn in for seventh term as Cameroon’s president
9 months ago
(7 Nov 2018) Cameroon’s President Paul Biya, sub-Saharan Africa’s oldest leader, was inaugurated Tuesday for his seventh term in office amid rising separatist unrest.
The 85-year-old Biya, who has been in power since 1982, was sworn in days after separatists allegedly kidnapped dozens of students and an American missionary was fatally shot as soldiers and separatists exchanged gunfire.
Biya asked all the fighters opposing his government to drop their guns, threatening further military action.
He said he would work to ensure that peace returns to Cameroon.
Opposition parties have demonstrated against Biya’s re-election, and violence has increased in the country’s English-speaking North West and South West regions, where the armed separatists are fighting for an independent English-speaking state.
Late Sunday, 79 students and three staff members were abducted from a school near the northwestern regional capital of Bamenda.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the kidnappings and called Tuesday for the immediate release of the abducted students and adults.
A video was released on social media Monday by the apparent kidnappers, showing some of the boys saying they were taken by separatists fighting to create the independent state of Ambazonia.
However, the Ambazonia Governing Council, the separatists’ official organisation, released a statement condemning the kidnappings and demanding freedom for people taken from the school.
The council called on the military to withdraw from the regions it calls Ambazonia, to avoid further escalation of violence.
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