80 people, mostly school children, kidnapped in Cameroon

Seventy-nine pupils were kidnapped in Cameroon

Schoolchildren who were kidnapped by armed men were released and helped into a truck by police in Bamenda, Cameroon, on Wednesday.

No fewer than 79 students were reportedly abducted on Monday morning with their teacher, the principal and a driver.

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.

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

"They look exhausted and psychologically tortured", Fonki Samuel Forba, moderator of Cameroon's Presbyterian Church, told The Associated Press.

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

A government spokesperson said it was keeping track of developments surrounding the kidnapping, but provided no other details.

The boys also said they were taken by the armed men late Sunday and didn't know where they were being held.

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There has been no official statement from the school authorities and as reporters spoke to the parents, majority believed a number of children who had not been kidnapped were being held by the authorities, something that only piles up their frustration.

"It is unfortunate we have to close the school and send home 700 children", he told the AP.

It said the school, located on the outskirts of Bamenda where there is a negligible presence by the security forces, would remain shuttered "until further notice". In the video, the kidnappers identified themselves as Amba boys and can be heard telling the children, "We shall only release you after the struggle".

Paul Biya's inauguration on Tuesday for a seventh term as Cameroon's president is eclipsed by the search for 79 school pupils kidnapped by English-speaking separatists. "Their security is not assured by the state and armed groups constantly attack and kidnap them".

Since a Government crackdown on peaceful demonstrations in 2017, the movement has gathered momentum.

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

Separatists have imposed curfews and closed down schools as part of their protest.

"These appalling abductions show just how the general population is paying the highest price as violence escalates in the Anglophone region", said Samira Daoud, Amnesty International deputy regional director for West and Central Africa.

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