Cameroon: Children among 81 people kidnapped from school in Bamenda

Kamto is protesting against the election results that declared Paul Biya the winner

Kamto is protesting against the election results that declared Paul Biya the winner

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.

Fonki Samuel Forba, moderator of Cameroon's Presbyterian Church, said Wednesday that the schoolchildren, who had been kidnapped Sunday night from a church school, had been left at a church near Bamenda, the capital of the troubled English-speaking North West region.

Violence between armed separatists and the Cameroon military have increased over the a year ago after a government crackdown against protesters who say they are marginalized by the French-speaking government.

But no single group has said it carried out the kidnapping at Bamenda's Presbyterian Secondary School, which has pupils aged between 10 and 14.

The 79 school children kidnapped by unidentified gunmen from a school in Cameroon have been released, but two of the three staff members abducted are still being held, said a church official.

While no group has taken responsibility for the kidnappings, some journalists report that separatists complain that the Cameroon school system suppresses the English-speaking system inherited from the British. More than half of those abducted were children.

Biya was credited with 71.3 percent of the vote, although the ballot was marred by allegations of widespread fraud, low voter turnout and violence.

About 20 percent of Cameroon's 22 million people are English speaking.

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The French colony gained independence in 1960, becoming Cameroon.

In 2016, anger at perceived discrimination in education, the judiciary and the economy fanned demands for autonomy in the anglophone regions.

Rebels have gunned down Cameroon troops, pictured, and police.

As radicals took ascendancy, the anglophone movement declared the creation of the "Republic of Ambazonia" in the Northwest and neighbouring Southwest Region on October 1, 2017.

Ongene said they were accused of defying instructions from the separatists not to go to work on the farms to protest President Biya's reelection and his expected inauguration on November 6.

At the start of the school year in September, several secondary schools were attacked, a headmaster was killed and a teacher was badly mutilated.

At least 400 "ordinary people" and more than 175 members of the security forces have been killed according to statistics by local and global groups that have been documenting abuses in the escalating violence, including AI. An estimated 250,000 people have fled their homes.

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