Dozens of students kidnapped from boarding school in Cameroon

78 students kidnapped from Presbyterian school: Cameroon governor

All 78 children and a driver kidnapped in southwest Cameroon were released on Wednesday, but a principal and one teacher are still being held by the armed men that took them, a priest conducting negotiations said.

They were enrolled at the Presbyterian Secondary School in Bamenda, capital of Cameroon's Northwest Region - one of two regions hit by attacks by anglophone militants that have met with a brutal crackdown by the authorities. Reportedly, the attack took place in Nkwen village, which is an English-speaking region where separatists are fighting to form an independent state and want to call it Ambazonia.

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

According to United Nations figures, 246,000 people in the Southwest Region have fled their homes, and 25,000 have sought shelter in neighbouring Nigeria, many of them living hand-to-mouth in the forests.

Biya has promised to pursue policies of decentralisation to address "frustrations and aspirations" in English-speaking regions, his first public acknowledgement of resentments that have spilled over in the country's anglophone Northwest and neighbouring Southwest Region.

The circumstances of the students' release are unclear but authorities say they are being questioned before being reunited with their parents. "You will be going to school now here", say the men.

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Hundreds of people have been killed during clashes between the protesters and the military.

A miltary source said the principal of the school had also been kidnapped.

"We hope and pray they release the kids and the teachers", he added.

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. Armed separatists have also killed teachers who disobeyed orders to keep schools closed.

The children were taken from a Presbyterian school near the city of Bamenda, which is at the center of an Anglophone separatist movement.

He pleaded with the kidnappers to "free the staff still in their keeping". Worldwide actors - especially the African Union, the United Nations, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States - should unanimously condemn violence against civilians and make clear that no political objective justifies tampering with the right to education and abducting sleeping schoolchildren from their beds.

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