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 neighborhood, 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 is specialized 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 November, the government accused separatists of kidnapping 79 children of a private school in the Northwest.
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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.