79 school students kidnapped in Cameroon on Monday in an English-speaking region of Cameroon where separatists are fighting an armed campaign for independence, a government source said.
The students were abducted along with their principal, a teacher and a driver, the official said, as a source at the school confirmed the kidnapping of the pupils.
They were enrolled at the Presbyterian Secondary School in Bamenda, capital of Cameroon’s Northwest Region — one of two regions hit by attacks by anglophone militants that have met with a brutal crackdown by the authorities.
A video purportedly of the kidnapped children has been released on social media via by men who call themselves Amba boys, a reference to the state of Ambazonia that armed separatists are trying to establish in Cameroon’s northwest and southwest regions, New Telegraph reports.
In the video, the kidnappers force several of the young male students to give their names and the names of their parents. The children say they were kidnapped late Sunday by the Amba boys, and they don’t know where they are being held.
The men who identify themselves as the kidnappers say they will only release the children when they achieve what they want.
“We shall only release you after the struggle. You will be going to school now here,” say the men who identified themselves as Amba boys. While the video could not be independently verified, parents have been reacting on social media saying they recognize their children in the video.
It comes after elections on October 7 that saw President Paul Biya, 85, who has ruled the country with an iron fist for 35 years, secure a seventh term in office.
Mr Biya was credited with 71.3 percent of the vote, although the ballot was marred by allegations of widespread fraud, low voter turnout and violence.
He takes his oath of office on Tuesday.