20th September, 2012
A Cameroonian traditional prince and his companion kidnapped last month on the country’s volatile Bakassi peninsula have been freed, security and regional administration sources said Thursday.
Kidnappings by pirates and attacks on government authorities are rife in Bakassi, where the state struggles to maintain law and order.
“The two hostages were freed separately a few days ago,” a source close to the security services told AFP. “The families (of the hostages) had to pay a ransom of 15 million CFA francs (23,000 euros, 30,000 dollars).”
An administrative official in Bakassi, who requested anonymity, confirmed the liberation of the two men but declined to comment on whether a ransom had been paid.
The security source also said 40 people were arrested during a raid on Friday and Saturday of the village of Dibanyanga where the abduction took place.
“These people are being questioned” to determine whether they have links to pirates responsible for the kidnapping or have any information about them, the source added.
The Bakassi peninsula has been the subject of a territorial dispute between Cameroon and Nigeria.
In 1993, Nigeria invaded and occupied it, handing it back to Cameroon only in 2008, after a 15-year dispute that dragged on even after a ruling in Cameroon’s favour by the International Court of Justice in 2002.
The swampy region, considered potentially rich in oil and gas but still under-explored, is home to several armed groups.