YAOUNDE—Cameroon’s military has freed 12 people held hostage by 30 suspected rebels on its border with the troubled Central African Republic. Cameroon’s military says that two of the suspected rebels were killed and several its soldiers were wounded in a 48 hour operation.
The governor of the Adamawa region of Cameroon says the 12 people, including children, were freed from captivity after Cameroon military launched an operation on its border with the Central African Republic.
Kildadis Taguieke Boucar says, unfortunately, some of the hostage takers escaped to the neighboring country.
He says the assailants were quickly detected by the population and Cameroon military because they were dressed in foreign military uniforms, an indication many rebels and evildoers from foreign countries were still operating on Cameroonian territory.
Among the freed hostages flown by Cameroon’s military from the border zone to the Ngaoundere airport in Adamawa region is 47-year old cattle rancher Mohamadou Njobdji, who says he spent two weeks in captivity after he was seized with his two children from his home at Ngaoui.
He says the day he was kidnapped there was a loud knock on his door about 11:00 PM with voices threatening that if he refused to let them in, he and his family would be killed. He says when he opened the door some masked people, dressed in black and armed with guns ordered his household to follow them.
Njobdji says while in captivity on the mountainous border zone, they were asked to pay ransoms of up to $10,000 each for their release. He says they were beaten each morning and fed with meat from stolen cattle.
Colonel Asoualai Blama, who led the operation to free the hostages, has called for civilians to report suspects and strange people in their localities. He says Cameroon’s military is determined to fight the attackers, but the battle can not be won without the participation of the general population.
He says he is very thankful to the population, especially farmers and cattle ranchers who collaborated by giving useful information to the military. He says without such collaboration the armed men who operate on border localities should have retreated to the Central African Republic.
Before 2014, CAR rebels were attacking Cameroon frequently to press for the release of Abdoulaye Meskine and 10 anti-Balaka soldiers who were arrested in Cameroon in 2013.
Cameroon and CAR negotiated the repatriation of Meskine to an undisclosed location and the attacks reduced. But since May 2015, Cameroon has been complaining that suspected CAR rebels were attacking its territory, kidnapping cattle ranchers and rich business persons and asking for ransoms.
Cameroon shares a 900-kilometer long boundary with the landlocked Central Afrtican Republic and there are 300,000 CAR refugees in Cameroon.