Kidnapped Cameroon students released

Kidnapped Cameroon students released

Fighting between the military and separatists increased after the government clamped down on peaceful demonstrations by English-speaking teachers and lawyers protesting what they said was their marginalization by Cameroon's French-speaking majority.

This past year has marked a distressing period for Cameroon's Anglophone regions, as hundreds have lost their lives as a result of the violence that has cropped up between armed separatists and the military.

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

Mr Fonki begged the kidnappers to free the staff members still being held.

The men who identify themselves on the video as the kidnappers say they will only release the children when they achieve what they want.

"How can he always talk of protection and security when our schools are torched every day, our children tortured and their teachers killed?" he said.

They were enrolled at the Presbyterian Secondary School in Bamenda.

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It later emerged that those taken on Sunday night were the second batch of abductees; 11 children were kidnapped on 31 October and later released, according to the Presbyterian church. The school is located near Bamenda, the capital of the troubled, English-speaking region. Neither the government nor the separatist groups provided evidence to substantiate their accusations.

Samira Daoud, Amnesty International deputy regional director for West and Central Africa, had this to say about the event: "These appalling abductions show just how the general population is paying the highest price as violence escalates in the Anglophone region", she shared with The Washington Post. 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.

Seventy-eight children kidnapped from their boarding school in Cameroon have been freed, school authorities told CNN Wednesday.

Last week separatist militants attacked workers on a state-run rubber plantation in restive southwestern Cameroon, chopping off their fingers because the men had defied an order to stay away from the farms.

President Paul Biya, who has been in power since 1982, was recently re-elected for a seventh term with more than 70% of the vote.

- Associated Press writer Carley Petesch in Dakar, Senegal, contributed.

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