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Gunmen Kidnap at Least 50 People in Northern Cameroon 

Cameroon map
Cameroon map

YAOUNDE — At least 50 people were kidnapped in two separate incidents over two days in northern Cameroon, local authorities said Tuesday. 

A group of unidentified armed group carried out the kidnappings Sunday and Monday afternoons near the border with Chad, the mayor of Touboro town, Celestin Yandal, told The Associated Press.

Seven people have been released so far. Abductions in this area happen often, but local residents say the scale of these attacks is rare.

The first kidnapping took place between Touboro and Koutere towns. Mostly Chadians were taken, but some people from Cameroon, including students and shopkeepers, were snatched, the mayor said.

In the second abduction, the gunmen snatched people traveling on a bus from Ngaoundere city to Touboro, he said.

Cameroon has been plagued by fighting since English-speaking separatists launched a rebellion in the Central African nation in 2017, with the goal of breaking away from the country, which is dominated by a French-speaking majority and setting up an independent, English-speaking state.

The conflict has killed more than 3,300 people and displaced more than 750,000 others, according to the United Nations. International human rights groups, such as Human Rights Watch, accuse both the government and the separatists of committing abuses against civilians.

The country also faces a threat from Islamic extremists in the region.