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07 November 2018, 11:15 | Darnell Patrick
80 people, mostly school children, kidnapped in Cameroon
The students were enrolled at the Presbyterian Secondary School in Bamenda, one of two areas where surging anglophone separatist militancy has been met with a brutal crackdown by authorities.
One of the workers, 27-year old Christopher Ongene said armed men attacked them Saturday evening.
They told Africanews, the abductors damaged school property and beat other children before committing the crime.
There have been kidnappings at other schools, but the group taken Sunday was the largest number abducted at one time in Cameroon's Anglophone regions.
The school's website says that the student body numbers more than 700, drawn from "all the religious and linguistic origins of Cameroon".
The separatists say that the Cameroon school system suppresses the English-speaking system that the North-West and South-West regions inherited from the British.
A video said to have been released by the kidnappers shows several young boy being forced to state their name to camera. The children say they were kidnapped late Sunday by the Amba boys, and they don't know where they are being held. The footage could not be immediately verified, but parents have reportedly been reacting to images of their children on social media, according to AP.
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The separatists in Cameroon have been protesting against the French-speaking government led by president Paul Biya and demanding a separate state.
"We hope and pray they release the kids and the teachers", he added.
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.
Around a fifth of Cameroon's 22m people are English-speaking - a minority whose presence dates back to the colonial period.
Cameroon, once a German colony, was divided between Britain and France after World War I. The French colony gained independence in 1960, becoming Cameroon.
The unrest began in November 2016 when English-speaking teachers and lawyers in the northwest and southwest began calling for reforms and greater autonomy in the largely French-speaking country.
However, the Ambazonia Governing Council, the separatists' official organisation, released a statement condemning the kidnappings and demanding freedom for people taken from the school. The fighting has displaced tens of thousands of people, with many fleeing Bamenda for the calmer Francophone regions. Last week, an American missionary was fatally shot in the head while in his vehicle, apparently caught in crossfire between government soldiers and armed separatists in Bamenda.
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