Foreign and Military Affairs

Abducted Chinese nationals in Cameroon released

Updated: 2010-03-18 06:42
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LIMBE, Cameroon - The seven Chinese nationals kidnapped in Cameroon days ago were released on Wednesday, Chinese diplomats said.

The released Chinese nationals arrived in Cameroon's port city Limbe late on Wednesday and the seven are all in good condition.

The Chinese nationals left the Bakassi peninsula by boat where they were released. Limbe is the port city of Cameroon in the Atlantic Ocean.

The Seven Chinese nationals on board two fishing boats owned by China's Dalian Beihai Fishing Company were abducted early Friday morning by gunmen off the Bakassi peninsula.

An "Africa Marine Commando", which had been unknown, claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.

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Abducted Chinese nationals in Cameroon released 7 Chinese nationals kidnapped in Cameroon: Embassy

The two fishing vessels returned to the port of  Limbe hours later with two sailors on board slightly injured.

Chinese Ambassador Xue Jinwei told Xinhua that the Chinese and Cameroonian authorities had worked hard to save them. Negotiations went on for days during which the captives had no risk of lives and were provided with water and food.

The Bakassi peninsula, which has an area of 1,000 square km and a great potential of oil and gas, has been a hotbed for banditry in the Gulf of Guinea. It was handed over from Nigeria to Cameroon in August 2008 under a ruling by the International Court of Justice in the Hague.

A group of gunmen attacked an oil vessel working in an offshore oilfield for the French petroleum Total in October 2008. Ten of the 15 crew members on board the vessel "Bourbon Sagitta" was kidnapped near the Bakassi peninsula. The kidnappers threatened to kill the hostages before releasing them 12 days later.

Three Chinese workers were abducted by unidentified kidnappers in May 2008 in Calabar, the capital city of Nigeria's southern Cross River State, which is adjacent to Cameroon.

The Cameroonian army deployed a Rapid Response Unit (RRU/ DELTA) in April 2009 to beef up security in the Bakassi peninsula.

In October 2009,  RRU/ DELTA killed four pirates and wounded four others at the Idabato sea opening in the Bakassi peninsula.