80 people, mostly school children, kidnapped in Cameroon

80 people, mostly school children, kidnapped in Cameroon

81 people, mostly school children, kidnapped in Cameroon

Armed men who stormed a Presbyterian school in Cameroon on Sunday kidnapped 78 students and absconded with the hostages to a separatist base, where a video captured one militant's chilling address to the scared group: "You will be going to school now here".

Dozens of people, a lot of them children, have been kidnapped from a school in the city of Bamenda in Cameroon's northwestern Anglophone region, which is struggling with a separatist insurgency.

Some parents have said on the social media that they recognised their children in the video, but separatist groups who had called for school boycott in the regions and promised severe consequences for defiance, have dissociated themselves from the kidnappers.

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

No one has yet claimed responsibility for Monday's mass kidnapping.

Though figures are still not exact for the moment, a source at the North West Governor's office said they remain cautious for the moment to give out figures not to create panic in some schools.

The school's website says that the student body numbers more than 700, drawn from "all the religious and linguistic origins of Cameroon".

The Principal of the school, a driver and another teacher were also kidnapped, local sources confirmed.

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While the video could not be independently verified, parents have been reacting on social media saying they recognise their children in the video.

The turmoil in Cameroon comes as President Paul Biya, who has led since 1982, easily won a seventh term last month in an election that the United States says was marked by irregularities.

There have been other kidnappings from schools in the region, but this is the largest number kidnapped at once.

However, the Ambazonia Governing Council, the separatists' official organisation, released a statement condemning the kidnappings and demanding freedom for people taken from the school.

A government spokesman said it was keeping track of an event but that it could not comment further.

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

More than 300,000 people have fled the violence, many of them now living from hand-to-mouth and exposed to varied dangers in the forests, and some across the border into Nigeria.

Around a fifth of Cameroon's 22m people are English-speaking - a minority whose presence dates back to the colonial period. The school is located near Bamenda, the capital of the troubled, English-speaking region.

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