78 kidnapped Cameroon students freed

07 November, 2018, 16:42 | Author: Carlos George
  • Kamto is protesting against the election results that declared Paul Biya the winner

Government forces have fought separatists in Cameroon's North West and South West regions.

A video purportedly of the kidnapped children was released on social media Sunday via men who call themselves Amba boys, a reference to the state of Ambazonia which armed separatists are trying to establish in Cameroon's northwest and southwest regions.

A source close to the school said the abducted students "are mainly boys".

Cameroon is split between majority French and minority English speaking regions - a legacy of the United Kingdom and France dividing the country between them after the First World War defeat of the original colonial power Germany.

The circumstances of the students' release are unclear but authorities say they are being questioned before being reunited with their parents.

The group of 42 girls and 36 boys was seized by gunmen with their school principal, a teacher and driver early Monday from the Presbyterian Secondary School in Bamenda, in the northwest of the central African nation.

The abductions, the worst incident recently, came just a day before longtime President Paul Biya was to be sworn in for a seventh term in office.

In the video, the kidnappers forced about six of the children to give their names and the names of their parents.

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This past year has marked a distressing period for Cameroon's Anglophone regions, as hundreds have lost their lives as a result of the violence that has cropped up between armed separatists and the military. Neither the government nor the separatist groups provided evidence to substantiate their accusations.

"We shall only release you after the struggle".

Rev. Forba said security officers visited the school on Tuesday and took away the vice principal and another member of staff for interrogation.

There have been other kidnappings from schools in the region, but this is the largest number kidnapped at once. They have mounted attacks against civilians who do not support their cause, including teachers who were killed for disobeying orders to keep schools closed.

"Measures are being taken to ensure that the abducted students are brought back to the classroom", said Northwest governor Adolphe Lele Lafrique.

An American missionary also died in the North West region near its capital, Bamenda, when he was shot in the head amid fighting between separatists and soldiers.

In an October presidential election, opposition candidate Maurice Kamto declared victory against Biya, who has ruled since 1982, but Biya's ruling party dismissed claims of defeat and accused Kamto of breaking the law.

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