The 79 school children kidnapped by unidentified gunmen from a school in Cameroon have been released, officials have announced.
A church official who confirmed the release however said but two of the three staff members abducted are still being held.
“They were brought last night to one of our churches … near Bamenda (the regional capital). They look tired and psychologically tortured,” said the moderator of the country’s Presbyterian Church, Fonki Samuel Forba.
The church leader said he had asked parents and guardians to take home all their children, who are between 11 and 17 years old.
“It is unfortunate we have to close the school and send home 700 children,” he said. “Their security is not assured by the state and armed groups constantly attack and kidnap them.”
He said the school previously had some students kidnapped which was resolved when the church paid a ransom of 2.5 million francs (about $4,000 dollars) to the armed gang. “We can no longer continue,” he said.
Cameroon’s northwest and southwest areas are beset by instability caused by English-speaking separatists.
The North West region governor Deben Tchoffo said this week that the government is providing adequate security for schools.
“I must insist that we have taken enough measures to protect schools, but we also need the assistance of all,” said Tchoffo.
“People should inform the military whenever they see strange faces in their villages.”