Dozens of students kidnapped from Presbyterian school in Cameroon

Dozens of students kidnapped from Presbyterian school in Cameroon

Authorities in Cameroon say search operations have been launched to ensure that some 79 children abducted from a boarding school in the restive Northwest region are found and brought back to class.

Rev. Forba said security officers visited the school on Tuesday and took away the vice principal and another member of staff for interrogation. He had earlier put the number of children taken at 79, but one of them was, in fact, a teacher, who remains with the kidnappers.

One of them shouted, how many times have we asked you not to work here again.

The priest did not say precisely when the children were freed, or whether any deal had been made with the kidnappers.

The men in the video said they would only release the students once the goal of creating a new state is achieved.

The United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, has condemned Monday's reported kidnapping of students and staff of a secondary school in Bamenda, North-West region of Cameroon.

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It later emerged that those taken on Sunday night were the second batch of abductees; 11 children were kidnapped on 31 October and later released, according to the Presbyterian church.

Hundreds have been killed in Cameroon's Anglophone regions in the past year, where violence between armed separatists and the military has increased since a government crackdown against protesters in the northwest and southwest regions, who claim that as the English-speaking minority they are marginalized by the French-speaking government.

The government has also accused separatists of taking the children, but a separatist spokesman has denied involvement.

"These appalling abductions show just how the general population is paying the highest price as violence escalates in the Anglophone region", Samira Daoud, Amnesty International deputy regional director for West and Central Africa. The fighting has displaced tens of thousands of people, with many fleeing Bamenda for the calmer Francophone regions. "The abduction of schoolchildren and teachers can never be justified".

In this Sunday Oct. 7, 2018 file photo, Cameroon's Incumbent President Paul Biya, of the Cameroon People's Democratic Movement party, casts his vote during presidential elections in Yaounde, Cameroon. The separatist spokesman blamed government soldiers. Biya, who has been in office since 1982, is set to be inaugurated tomorrow.

- Associated Press writer Carley Petesch in Dakar, Senegal, contributed.

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