Human rights activists say that Cameroonian authorities have been holding 84 children in detention after they raised a series of schools accused of supporting Boko Haram.

Amnesty International said Friday that some of the children are as young as 5 years old, and have been held for months without any charges.

Authorities say the Quranic schools they were attending in Cameroon's far north were actually training camps for the Boko Haram extremist group.

Steve Cockburn, Amnesty International's deputy regional director for West and Central Africa, urged Cameroonian officials to release the children to their parents.

Nearly all the children are under 15, the age at which they can face criminal charges under a regional human rights charter of which Cameroon is a signatory.