Yaounde: At least 79 children abducted from a boarding school in Cameroon’s Northwest region have reportedly been freed. The pupils were abducted by armed men on Monday.

The miscreants also kidnapped three others, including the principal of the boarding school.

The men entered the Presbyterian Secondary School in Bamenda, overpowered the security guard and forced him to take them to the children, who were sleeping, Louis Marie Begne, spokesman for Cameroon’s Northwest government, was quoted as saying by CNN.

Following the abduction, an emergency meeting was held. A manhunt was launched to find the children.

The secessionist fighters, who are English-speaking, have been demanding independence from Cameroon. They have been largely accused of abducting students in Cameroon’s restive north and southwest regions.

Earlier in September, armed secessionists kidnapped seven pupils and a head teacher from a school in Bafut. The hostages were “tortured and seriously injured” by the abductors before being released.

In Cameroon’s Southwest and Northwest regions, there has been an uprising demanding a separate country of Ambazonia, since last year.

Cameroon President Paul Biya, who is in power since 1982, is accused of using the military to launch assaults on the armed fighters and kill English speakers. The separatists, on the other hand, are accused of killing Cameroonian troops.

(Inputs from ANI)