27 Boko Haram Hostages, Including Wife of Cameroon Official, Freed

_78157484_024284255-1Twenty-seven people held for months by suspected Boko Haram militants have arrived in Cameroon’s capital.

Among the hostages set free were the wife of Cameroon’s vice prime minister, Amadou Ali, and 10 Chinese workers.

They were flown to Yaounde from the country’s far northern region after being freed early Saturday.

They were seized in two separate raids in May and July close to the Nigeria border. It is not clear how their release was secured.

Boko Haram is seeking to establish an Islamist state in Nigeria, but its fighters often cross the long and porous border with Cameroon.

Many Nigerian civilians in border towns have fled to Cameroon to escape militant attacks, which have been stepped up in recent months.

In July, Cameroon, Nigeria, Chad and Niger agreed to form a 2,800-strong regional force to tackle Boko Haram militants.

Cameroon has reinforced its troops in its northern regions.

The freed hostages were taken to Yaounde General Hospital upon their arrival in the capital, Reuters reports.

“You can imagine that after the ordeal they are very happy to be released and very relieved,” Issa Tchiroma Bakary, Cameroon’s minister of communications, told the news agency.

“But they are very weak. They are in very poor physical condition.”

President Paul Biya announced their release in a statement on state radio: “The 27 hostages kidnapped on May 16, 2014, at Waza and on July 27, 2014, at Kolofata were given this night to Cameroonian authorities.

“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.”

No details were given on the circumstances of the release or whether a ransom was paid.

Read more at bbc.com


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