Cameroon: Schoolchildren Released Days after Abduction by Separatists

A Presbyterian Church official in Cameroon says 79 students who were abducted from their school along with their principal have been freed.

Suspected English-speaking militants allegedly kidnapped the students Monday from the church school in the town of Bamenda, in troubled northwestern Cameroon.

The official said the boys, between the ages of 11 and 17, are “psychologically tortured” but otherwise in good health.

The exact reasons why they were freed are unclear, but three school staffers kidnapped with the students were still being held captive Wednesday.

Eleven students were also kidnapped Oct. 31 and were later freed.

In a video of the students released on social media, the kidnappers called themselves “Amba boys,” a reference to the self-declared English-speaking region of Ambazonia where armed separatists are fighting for independence.

The fighting erupted in the English-speaking northwest and southwest regions of Cameroon in 2016, when teachers and lawyers complained of discrimination in education and the justice system by the French-speaking majority.

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