Saturday, October 11, 2014 9:12 am
Ten Chinese and 17 local hostages have been released in Cameroon, where they were kidnapped earlier this year in raids blamed on the Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram, Cameroon’s president said Saturday.
“The 27 hostages abducted on May 16 in Waza and July 27 in Kolofata were released to the Cameroonian authorities this night,” President Paul Biya said in a statement on national radio.
The Chinese workers were seized in Waza, 20 km (12 miles) from the Nigerian border. The others freed include the wife of Cameroon’s vice-prime minister who was seized in July, the presidency said.
“Ten Chinese, the wife of the Vice Prime Minister Amadou Ali, the Lamido (a local religious leader) of Kolofata, and the members of their families kidnapped with them are safe,” it said, giving no further details.
The Chinese were brought to Yaounde airport by military plane, an AFP correspondent said. As was the case in past kidnappings of foreigners blamed on Boko Haram, no details were given on how the hostages were freed.
The release of the captives was first published Thursday night by Thursday night, but a Cameroon’s Communications Minister, Issa Bakary flatly denied the story.
Boko Haram has killed hundreds of people this year, mostly in northeastern Nigeria, although they have detonated bombs across Nigeria. The group made international headlines when it abducted around 200 Nigerian schoolgirls in April.
Boko Haram has stepped up cross-border attacks into Cameroon this year. Cameroon has deployed troops to its northern region, joining international efforts to combat the militants.