Cameroon: 79 Students Kidnapped by Gunmen Released

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

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

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.

In the video, the kidnappers force several students to give their names and the names of their parents.

Although the video has yet to be independently verified, parents of the kidnapped schoolchildren have been taking to social media and claiming that they are able to clearly identify them in the footage.

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

The men in the video said they would only release the students once the goal of creating a new state is achieved.

The kidnapping late Sunday took place near Bamenda, capital of the troubled English-speaking region, according to Governor Deben Tchoffo.

The priest said another 11 school children were kidnapped by the same armed group on 31 October, then released after the school paid a ransom of 2.5 million CFA francs (£3,340).

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Most of Cameroon is French-speaking, while the country's western portion is populated by English speakers.

The church has also revealed that Sunday's kidnapping was the second such case at the same school in less than a week.

Cameroon, once a German colony, was divided between Britain and France after World War I. The French colony gained independence in 1960, becoming Cameroon.

The integration was not a smooth one, and the Anglophone minority complains of marginalization by the Francophone majority.

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The crisis started as an industrial strike by lawyers and teachers in 2016, but snowballed into an internal armed conflict since previous year when separatists joined and symbolically declared the independence of the Federal Republic of Ambazonia. The separatist spokesman blamed government soldiers. They have attacked civilians who do not support their cause, including teachers who were killed for disobeying orders to keep schools closed. According to AFP, 79 school students were abducted. "At least three teachers were killed during the same period and two school principals kidnapped". The government did away with presidential term limits several years ago, part of a trend in Africa that has dismayed many. Biya, who has been in office since 1982, is set to be inaugurated Tuesday. Turnout in the English-speaking regions reportedly may have been as low as 5 percent.

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