Cameroon’s disarmament official kidnapped in restive Anglophone region

Soldiers patrol in Bafut, after the roof of a school's dormitory was set to fire overnight, on November 15, 2017, in the northwest English-speaking region of Cameroon. Authorities in Cameroon have imposed a night-time curfew on November 8, 2017 and ordered the closure of shops and public places in the main city in a region rocked by unrest among the country's anglophone minority. Four makeshift bombs exploded overnight on November 12, a week after four soldiers were killed in the two administrative areas where most of Cameroon's anglophone minority live. Their deaths have been blamed by the authorities on "terrorists" -- anglophones campaigning for the two English-speaking areas, the Northwest and Southwest Regions, to secede from Cameroon. / AFP PHOTO / - (Photo credit should read -/AFP via Getty Images)

Gunmen abducted an official of Cameroon’s National Committee on Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (NCDDR) in the country’s troubled Anglophone region of Northwest on Wednesday, according to local officials and security sources.

Soldiers patrol in Bafut in the northwest English-speaking region of Cameroon. (Photo credit -/AFP via Getty Images)

Henry Kum, Service Head of NCDDR Northwest was kidnapped at his residence Wednesday afternoon in Bamenda, a town of the region, said officials.

Kum was a main actor in helping to disarm and reintegrate armed separatist fighters in the region since government forces and the fighters started clashing in 2017.

The NCDDR was created in 2018 “to avoid the use of extreme measures” and supervise and manage the disarmament and reintegration of ex-combatants of terror group Boko Haram and armed separatists in the Anglophone regions.

Cameroon has been plagued by protests and violence since 2016 as residents in the English-speaking regions claim they have been marginalized for several years by the central government and the French-speaking majority.

The two English-speaking regions, South West and North West provinces, became the epicentre of the conflict involving separatist militants who have targeted the army and demanded the closure of local government offices and schools.

The conflict has claimed more than 3,000 lives and forced over 700,000 people to flee their homes since 2017.

(Story compiled with input from Xinhua)