Reports say students kidnapped from a boarding school in Cameroon’s North-West region have been freed.

The 79 students and three others were seized early on Sunday in the region’s capital, Bamenda.

Reports also say the school’s principal, the driver, and a teacher are still in captivity.

The government and separatists in the English-speaking region have been accusing each other of being behind the kidnapping.

A video purportedly showing some of the kidnapped students from Bamenda’s Presbyterian Secondary School has been shared online, sparking outrage.

An Anglophone separatist movement took up arms last year to demand independence for the North-West and South-West regions – the two English-speaking regions in a country where French is the most widely spoken official language.

The circumstances of the students’ release are unclear but authorities say they are being questioned before being reunited with their parents.

According to the Presbyterian Church of Cameroon, the students were abandoned in one of their buildings in the town of Bafut, about 24km (15 miles) from Bamenda.

The church has also revealed that Sunday’s kidnapping was the second such case at the same school in less than a week.

In the 31 October incident, 11 boys were taken and then released. It is unclear who the kidnappers were.

Communication Minister Issa Bakary Tchiroma told the media that “all 79 students have been released,” but did not give any further details.

A priest who was conducting negotiations with the captors confirmed the release but said the school’s principal, driver and a teacher had been held back.

The army had been deployed to try and find the children.

Cameroon’s authorities have blamed the kidnap on Anglophone separatist militias – who have called for schools in English-speaking regions to be closed.

They want to create an independent state called Ambazonia.

A video of the hostages released on Monday showed one of the captives saying they had been seized by “Amba Boys” – the widely-used term to describe the separatist rebels.

An Anglophone group, the Ambazonia International Policy Commission (AIPC), has however cast doubt on the idea that the separatists were behind the kidnapping, noting that the person recording the video appears to have a poor grasp of Pidgin-English, the language spoken widely in the Anglophone area of the country.

One of the kidnappers was apparently heard speaking French.

-BBC