Xinhua | Two mayors and 19 municipal councilors of Cameroon’s main opposition party, the Social Democratic Front (SDF), have been abducted in Northwest, one of the two troubled Anglophone regions of the country, party officials said on Thursday.
The mayor of Bamenda II, Fidelis Awa Balick was kidnapped early Thursday, while first deputy mayor of Bamenda III and four councilors were kidnapped on Monday alongside 15 other councilors in Jakiri, the party said in a statement.
Armed separatists claimed responsibility for the abductions on social media, stating that the hostages will remain in their keeping until after general elections scheduled for next year.
The party has demanded their “safe and sound” release with “immediate effect”. Local police said a search and rescue mission of the hostages is underway.
Cameroon will hold municipal and parliamentary elections on Feb. 9, 2020, but separatists have vowed to disrupt the elections in the Anglophone regions of Northwest and Southwest where they want to create an independent nation.
The SDF is deeply rooted in the English-speaking part of the country that has been facing the separatist conflict since 2017.