Cameroon says no missing girls among freed Boko Haram hostages

YAOUNDE Cameroon stated on Monday that schoolgirls kidnapped by Islamist militant group Boko Haram final year had been not among a group of 900 hostages liberated by the West African country’s army.

Final week’s hostage release raised hopes that some of the girls may be amongst the group. The army also stated it killed at least 100 Boko Haram fighters in the operation as it seeks to strike back soon after a series of attacks, not least in its Far North region.

“The individuals that have been freed are just villagers. The schoolgirls who are missing are not amongst the group,” Information Minister Issa Tchiroma Bakari told Reuters by phone.

The freed hostages were driven in crowded open-topped trucks to the town of Maroua in the Far North at the weekend and provided food help and water by regional officials, Reuters television photographs showed.

Boko Haram seized around 200 schoolgirls in April 2014 from their dormitories in the town of Chibok, northeastern Nigeria, about 50 km (30 miles) west of the border with Cameroon. The kidnapping stirred international outrage.

Efforts to track them down have proved fruitless, in component simply because they have probably been split up into modest groups and settled with families in villages across a wider region of terrain, according to analysts.

Cameroon is component of an eight,700-powerful activity force which includes troops from Chad, Niger, Nigeria and Benin that has pledged to destroy Boko Haram, which though based mainly in Nigeria has become a significant threat to wider regional safety.

Suicide bombings, usually carried out by young women recruited by the militant group, are becoming nearly day-to-day occurrences in the Far North. The government denies that Boko Haram holds any territory in Cameroon.

(Reporting by Sophia Shadid Writing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Agen Sabung Ayam