Some seventy-nine students kidnapped on Sunday at the Presbyterian Secondary School in Nkwen Bamenda, North West region of Cameroon by unidentified gunmen have been freed, Cameroon’s minister of communication, Issa Tchiroma Bakary said on Wednesday.
“All 79 students were released,” Tchiroma told AFP, without initially specifying under what conditions the release was obtained.
According to the Presbyterian Church of Cameroon, the students were abandoned in one of their buildings in the town of Bafut, about 24km (15 miles) from Bamenda.
A principal and one of the teachers of PSS Nkwen were however still detained by the kidnappers, according to the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon Rev. Samuel Fonki.
Rev. Samuel Fonki, also said the released children were actually seventy eight, clarifying that the earlier figure of 79 included a teacher.
“Praise God seventy eight children and the driver have been released. The principal and one teacher are still with the kidnappers. Let us keep praying,” Rev. Fonki said.
The government and English-speaking separatists have been accusing each other of carrying out Sunday’s kidnapping.
Some students who witnessed the abduction, describe hiding under their beds as the hostage-takers ransacked the building, selecting which children to abduct.
Anglophone activists had called for a boycott of all school in the west of Cameroon, until their demands for secession were met.
In an inauguration speech following last month’s election to extend his 36-year rule, President Paul Biya told the separatists to lay down their arms or face the full force of the law, offering no concessions to them.