Students kidnapped from PSS Nkwen, a boarding school in Cameroon’s restive North-West Region have been reunited with their parents amid joyful scenes.
The 78 boys and girls and three others were seized early on Monday in the region’s capital, Bamenda.
A driver was also freed, but the principal and a teacher are still being held.
After being released, the students were taken in army vehicles back to the Presbyterian Secondary School where their parents were waiting.
Reports say it was a very emotional scene as they tried to come to terms with what their children had been through.
One of those who had been kidnapped, a 15-year-old girl, said she had been treated well by the kidnappers.
“Those held captive had been given fruit, food and warm water to wash with”, she said.
She said she could tell they were separatist rebels, who are demanding an independent state of Ambazonia, by the way they looked and spoke.
However, an Anglophone group, the Ambazonia International Policy Commission (AIPC) has denied that the separatists were behind the kidnapping.
According to the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon, the students were abandoned in one of its old buildings in the town of Bafut, about 24km (15 miles) from Bamenda.
The moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon Reverend Fonki Samuel said the release was done peacefully… by unidentified gunmen as the kids were brought into the old church premises
According to the Reverend, they got a call from the kidnappers saying the intended to release the kids yesterday morning but heavy rains disturbed.
“Surprisingly the kids were released later in the evening and by God’s grace, the children were brought back to us.” He said.