'Don't go back to school' kidnappers told freed Cameroonian students
One of the kidnapped female students freed in Cameroon said her captors warned her and other students not to return to school.
Mathel Majum is one of the 78 students released on Wednesday after gunmen burst into their school dormitory in the early hours of Monday morning and carted them away in Bamenda, northwest Cameroon.
The children were seized, along with their principal, a teacher and a driver, from the Presbyterian Secondary School. One other girl managed to escape from the kidnappers.
"They said we should not come to school, as of now, because there is no peace in the country, and we cannot go to school since there is no peace in the country," Majum said.
Father, Mujum Majum, Mathel, and her mother, Florence on Wednesday in Bamenda city.
The kidnappers made the group of 46 girls and 32 boys trek through bushes and changed their hideout several times until they were released, Majum said.
Their abductors regularly assured them they would be returned safely to their parents, the student said.
"They told us not to worry and feel free with them. People with guns telling us not to be afraid, it was not normal, we were still afraid," she said.
Majum said she was "grateful" her captors did not harm her during a joyful reunion with her parents, Mujum and Florence on Wednesday.
The students were given fruits and foodstuff to cook in the house where they were kept before their release, she added.
"We never lacked food. We ate guava, 'puff puff', 'akara', 'kwacha.' (local snacks) The boys gave us six bunches of plantain to cook our own food there. There was a house where there where spices, everybody ate and they were satisfied," Majum said.
Puff-puff, akara, kwacha are local snacks in Cameroon.