Gunmen have released seventy-nine school pupils abducted on Monday in a troubled English-speaking region of Cameroon.
The students were enrolled at the Presbyterian Secondary School in Bamenda, capital of Cameroon’s Northwest Region — one of two areas where surging anglophone separatist militancy has been met with a brutal crackdown by authorities.
Cameroon’s Minister of Communications Issa Bakary Tchiroma made this known to reporters on Wednesday.
“All 79 students have been released,” said Tchiroma, without giving details of the circumstances under which they were set free.
The kidnappings were the first such mass abductions seen in Cameroon and coincide with an upsurge of political tensions in the majority French-speaking country.
Their release comes a day after Cameroon’s 85-year-old President Paul Biya was sworn in for a seventh term in office.
A six-minute video seen by AFP on Monday, but which could not be confirmed independently, showed 11 boys apparently aged about 15 giving their identity and name of the school in English, and adding that they were abducted by the “Amba Boys” — a name for anglophone separatists.