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The kidnapping late on Sunday took place near Bamenda, the capital of the troubled English-speaking region, according to Governor Deben Tchoffo.

The Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon Rev. Samuel Fonki on Tuesday November 6 condemned the kidnap of the students and said students cannot go to school under uncertain security conditions.

The separatists have ordered curfews and closed down schools to protest President Paul Biya's French-speaking government. But Sunday's involved the largest number of people kidnapped at once, the AP reported.

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.

The priest said another 11 school children were kidnapped by the same armed group on 31 October, then released after the school paid a ransom of 2.5 million CFA francs (£3,340). More than half of those abducted were children.

The polls however were marred by allegations of widespread fraud, low voter turnout and violence.

The authorities have responded with a massive crackdown by police and troops.

The government was accused of relying heavily on people trained in the French legal and educational tradition to work in key posts and generally marginalising Cameroon's English-speaking minority, who make up about 20% of the population.

Cameroon, once a German colony, was divided between Britain and France after World War I.

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Cameroon's North-West and South-West regions have been hit by a secessionist rebellion in recent years.

But resentment at perceived discrimination at the hands of the francophone majority, especially in education and the judiciary, began to build.

In 2016, demands for greater autonomy grew but have been rebuffed by Biya.

But Biya refused any concessions and a year later, radicals declared an independent state - the "Republic of Ambazonia" - taking up arms soon after.

However the separatists responded on social media claiming that this was a government organised scheme to deter attention.

At least 400 "ordinary people" and more than 175 members of the security forces have been killed according to statistics by local and worldwide groups that have been documenting abuses in the escalating violence, including AI.

Estimates of displaced people in the Northwest Region are not available.

More than 300,000 other have fled the violence, some crossing into neighbouring Nigeria. Turnout in the English-speaking regions reportedly may have been as low as 5 percent.


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