Rosana Olowu with agency reports
Dozens of people, mostly school pupils, have been kidnapped from a boarding school in the west of Cameroon.
At least 79 students and three others, including the principal, were seized yesterday morning in Bamenda, the capital of the North-West region, a government official has told newsmen.
A massive search operation involving the Cameroonian army is now under way.
Cameroon’s North-West and South-West regions have been hit by a secessionist rebellion in recent years.
Regional governor Adolphe Lele L’Afrique blamed separatist militias for the kidnapping.
Militias, who have been demanding the independence of the two English-speaking regions, have called for a school boycott.
But no single group has said it carried out the kidnapping at Bamenda’s Presbyterian Secondary School, which has pupils aged between 10 and 14.
A video of some of the children, believed to have been filmed by one of the kidnappers, is being shared on social media.
The students, all boys and crammed into a tiny room, all look nervous as the person holding the camera orders them to say their names and where they are from.
They also repeat the phrase: “I was taken from school last night by the Amba boys, I don’t know where I am.”
Amba is short for Ambazonia, the name of the new country that the separatists want to create.
One student, who managed to avoid capture by hiding under a bed, told newsmen that events unfolded quickly as the kidnappers entered the school.
A teacher at the school described what she saw as she entered the principal’s office after students had been taken from different dormitories.