Two children who were among dozens kidnapped by gunmen from their boarding school in Cameroon Monday are still missing, the school’s moderator told CNN, updating an earlier statement that all 78 students had been freed.
Rev. Fonki Samuel Forba, the moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon, told CNN that authorities realized the two children were missing after the other children underwent interviews and medical checks.
“When we handed the children to their parents this evening, we learned two students are still with the kidnappers, and the principal and one teacher,” Forba said. On Tuesday, Forba said all 78 children had been freed.
Forba said the kidnappers had asked the students to tell if them if their parents had high-ranking government positions. “These two raised their hands. So they kept them,” he said.
The group of 42 girls and 36 boys was seized early Monday by gunmen, along with their principal, a teacher and a driver, from the Presbyterian Secondary School in Bamenda, in the northwest of the central African nation. One other girl managed to escape from the kidnappers.
The students were returned to the school with their driver at 9:30 p.m. (4:30 p.m. ET) on Tuesday, teacher Vumesegah Peter Kogah said. A military truck then took them to the governor’s office.
Security officers who visited the school after the kidnapping took away the vice principal and another member of staff for interrogation, Forba said.
“They have not yet been released,” he said, adding, “I don’t know why they are keeping them.”