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The 79 students kidnapped by unidentified gunmen from a school in Cameroon have been released, but two of the three staff members abducted with them are still being held, a church official said Wednesday.

There have been a spate of kidnappings in the Anglophone regions at other schools but this week's incident involved the largest number abducted in a single incident, AP news agency reports.

Meanwhile government has accused separatists who are now fighting an armed campaign for independence in the English speaking side of the country where the kidnappings occurred.

The video reportedly shows some of the boys being forced to state their names and those of their parents.

"We express solidarity with the families of these children and demand that the Cameroon authorities do everything in their power to ensure all the pupils and school staff are freed unharmed".

The boys also said they were taken by the armed men late Sunday and didn't know where they were being held.

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. Others have accused pro-government forces of kidnapping the children in order to sully the separatists' reputation.

"All 79 students have been released", said Issa Bakary Tchiroma, without giving details of the circumstances under which they were set free.

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The Presbyterian boarding school with 700 students is closed because of the security situation.

He said, "armed groups, gangsters and thieves" could be taking advantage of the insecurity in the region to seize people, and blame it on the government and separatists.

Violent separatists took up arms to destabilise the Anglophone regions to win independence for the areas they want to declare a separate state, which they call Ambazonia.

One of the workers, 27-year old Christopher Ongene said armed men attacked them Saturday evening.

The conflict between the insurgents and government security forces intensified previous year after a government crackdown on peaceful protesters.

Around a fifth of Cameroon's 22 million people are English-speaking - a minority whose presence dates back to the colonial period.

"We urge an immediate halt to the indiscriminate targeting of civilians and burning of houses by Cameroonian government forces and to attacks perpetrated by both Anglophone separatists against security forces and civilians", the department said in a statement from spokesperson Heather Nauert.


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