Nearly 30 hostages, including 10 Chinese workers, who were kidnapped by militants suspected of belonging to Boko Haram, have been released, Cameroon’s President said Saturday. Along with the hostages, the wife of Cameroon's Vice-Prime Minister Amadou Ali, who was kidnapped in July, was also released.
Cameroon’s President Paul Biya said that the Chinese hostages were kidnapped in May near the town of Waza, about 12 miles from the Nigerian border, according to the BBC. Other hostages were kidnapped July, according to authorities, who suspect Boko Haram, a militant group opposed to western education which is trying to establish an Islamist state, of carrying out the kidnappings. Last month, reports suggested that Boko Haram's leader was killed by Cameroon's army, leading to the defection of several of the group's fighters.
"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," a statement from Biya’s office said, according to Reuters, adding: "The 27 hostages kidnapped on May 16, 2014, at Waza and on July 27, 2014, at Kolofata were given this night to Cameroonian authorities."
A recent report from an alumni group from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, or SAIS, had estimated that Boko Haram-led violence in Nigeria has killed at least 11,000 people since 1998. The group’s violence is also responsible for nearly 40 percent of all deaths in the region, the report had added.
The group had also kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls in June and has now increased its efforts to carry out attacks in Cameroon.