Mireille Marie-Laure Owona, principal of General Leclerc High School in Yaounde, has formally denied a rumor circulating on social networks about the kidnapping of pupils from her school. "Contrary to what is said in the audio that has gone viral on social networks, no General Leclerc High School student has been kidnapped to date," she indicated in a statement released on Tuesday, November 7. In an audio message shared the same day on WhatsApp, a woman, who introduced herself as the mother of a pupil enrolled in this public high school, warned of the "kidnapping" of five pupils from the school, including her daughter.
Allegedly recounting her daughter’s words, the woman said that a man made the pupils smell a perfume and they subsequently fainted. Still, according to the woman, the man then put them in a car and drove off to an unknown destination. The girl whose words are allegedly recounted woke up earlier than the other four pupils and tried to wake them in vain. She escaped when the abductor made a stop to urinate in the “Nkometou forest.” After a long walk "in the bush", the teenager is said to have ended up at the Nkometou high school (Obala district, Lékié division), where "a man spotted her" and helped her inform her mother of what was going on.
According to Ms. Mireille Marie-Laure Owona, no General Leclerc High School student has ever been kidnapped. It is rumored that the allegedly kidnapped student skipped classes and simply made up a story to escape punishment for arriving home late.
General Leclerc High School authorities urge parents to "maintain vigilance," while ensuring that "all activities are proceeding calmly under the watchful eye of highly skilled personnel." This incident arises amidst an increasing recurrence of kidnapping and missing children in Cameroon. One of the recent high-profile incidents involves the abduction for ransom of a young student from Middle School De La Retraite in Yaounde, who was subsequently found by the police and suspects –including one of the abducted girl’s relatives– arrested.