17 KIDNAPPED CAMEROON UNIVERSITY STUDENTS FREED IN RESTIVE ANGLOPHONE REGION

YAOUNDE, Cameroon- Seventeen students of the University of Bamenda in Cameroon, who were abducted from Dec 5 to 10, have been released, according to an official statement released late Wednesday.

"Following coordinated operations, organised by the administrative authorities, forces of law and order, the parents of the kidnapped students and some patriotic citizens living in the neighbourhood, the release of all the students has been secured as of date," said Lele Lafrique, governor of Northwest, one of the war-torn English-speaking regions of Cameroon.

He said, the students were abducted by a "criminal gang" that specialised in the kidnapping of students for ransom.

Students and university authorities need to step up vigilance and collaborate with government forces, as a measure to stop the abductions, Lafrique said.

In early Nov, the government accused separatists of kidnapping 79 children of a private school, in the Northwest. They were released a few days later. Separatists, however, insisted that most of the kidnappings were staged by the government, to tarnish their image internationally.

Since Nov last year, government forces have clashed with armed separatist forces, who want the two regions to secede from the majority French-speaking nation and form a new country called "Ambazonia."

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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