78 students kidnapped from Presbyterian school: Cameroon governor

Seventy-nine pupils were kidnapped in Cameroon

Seventy-nine pupils were kidnapped in Cameroon

All 79 children and a driver kidnapped in west Cameroon have now been freed, but a principal and one teacher are still being held by the armed men that took them, a priest conducting negotiations has said.

No group has claimed responsibility for the abductions yet. The separatists also have torched at least a hundred schools and driven out students and teachers from buildings taken over as training grounds.

Seventy-nine school pupils abducted by gunmen this week in a troubled English-speaking region of Cameroon have been freed, the country's communications minister told AFP Wednesday.

The video reportedly shows some of the boys being forced to state their names and those of their parents.

A government spokesperson said it was keeping track of developments surrounding the kidnapping, but provided no other details. The children say they were kidnapped late Sunday by the armed men and they don't know where they are being held.

At least 78 students and three others, including the principal, were seized early on Monday morning in Bamenda, the capital of the North-West region, a government official has told the BBC.

The students were dropped off at another Presbyterian school in the town of Bafut, 12 miles from Bamenda where their school is based.

Cameroon's authorities have blamed the kidnap on Anglophone separatist militias - who have called for schools in English-speaking regions to be closed.

"The first information we got from them [kidnappers] is their call and they were telling us they meant to release the children yesterday [Tuesday] morning. but unfortunately it rained so heavily that could not happen".

Violent separatists took up arms to destabilise the Anglophone regions to win independence for the areas they want to declare a separate state, which they call Ambazonia.

"I was taken from school last night by the Amba boys", one said, while a heavily accented man shouted at him to "talk louder". "Their security is not assured by the state and armed groups constantly attack and kidnap them".

Around a fifth of Cameroon's 22 million people are English-speaking - a minority whose presence dates back to the colonial period.

The separatist movement gathered momentum in 2017 after a government crackdown on peaceful demonstrations.

The separatists, who are protesting against President Paul Biya's French-speaking government, have imposed strict curfews, shuttered schools, and killed government soldiers and policemen in guerilla raids.

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