Cameroon kidnap: Bamenda students freed

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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.

The video is believed to have been taken by the Amba boys, a group whose name is in reference to the state of Ambazonia that armed separatists are attempting to enact in the northwest and southwest regions of Cameroon.

Violent separatists have since taken up arms to destabilize the Anglophone regions to win independence for the areas they want to declare a separate state, which they call Ambazonia.

In the video, abductors can be seen forcing young male students to identify themselves, their parents and say they have been kidnapped by Amba Boys and they don't know where they are.

Meanwhile government has accused separatists who are now fighting an armed campaign for independence in the English speaking side of the country where the kidnappings occurred.

The abduction of the school children marked an escalation of the two-year long crisis that has gripped the two English-speaking regions. A large majority of the kidnapped people are school children while the rest are the school staff, including the principal.

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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", a man in the video reportedly said.

Cameroon, an English-speaking central African country, has been marred by a separatist rebellion in recent years, the BBC reports.

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

They have decreed a boycott of schools, saying that the French-speaking education system marginalises anglophone students.

Separatists have imposed curfews and closed down schools as part of their protest. The separatists also have set fire to at least 100 schools and driven out students and teachers from buildings taken over as training grounds.

He pleaded with the kidnappers to free the staff still held. Global 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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