78 students kidnapped from Presbyterian school: Cameroon governor

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A six-minute video seen by AFP, but which could not be immediately 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" - the name for anglophone separatists.

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

Men who identified themselves as the kidnappers told the children of the conditions for their release. The school is located near Bamenda, the capital of the troubled, English-speaking region.

Biya has promised to pursue policies of decentralisation to address "frustrations and aspirations" in English-speaking regions, his first public acknowledgement of resentments that have spilled over in the country's anglophone Northwest and neighbouring Southwest Region.

A miltary source said the principal of the school had also been kidnapped.

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

The circumstances of the students' release are unclear but authorities say they are being questioned before being reunited with their parents.

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Hundreds have been killed in violence in the country in the past year, the AP reports.

Today, President Paul Biya will be sworn in for a seventh term in office despite mass accusations of voter fraud during the election. "Let us keep praying", Samuel Fonki, a minister of the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon, said, two days after they were taken into the bush by armed men.

Anglophone secessionists have imposed curfews and closed schools as part of their protest against Biya's French-speaking government and its perceived marginalisation of the English-speaking minority, although they had never kidnapped children before.

The priest did not say precisely when the children were freed, or whether any deal had been made with the kidnappers.

Separatists have since attacked troops and police, boycotted and torched schools and attacked other state symbols, prompting a brutal official crackdown. The separatists also have set fire to at least 100 schools and driven out students and teachers from buildings taken over as training grounds.

On 19 October, five students of the Atiela Bilingual High School were taken by unidentified gunmen.

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.