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MSF says 5 workers freed in Nigeria after Cameroon kidnap

The French medical charity Doctors without Borders (MSF) said Thursday that five employees who were kidnapped more than a month ago in troubled northern Cameroon had been released in neighbouring Nigeria.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF – Doctors Without Borders) is seen. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau<br />

The French medical charity Doctors without Borders (MSF) said Thursday that five employees who were kidnapped more than a month ago in troubled northern Cameroon had been released in neighbouring Nigeria.

The five, who were seized on February 24 at Fotokol, a border area that frequently suffers jihadist attacks, have been taken to a “safe place,” MSF told AFP, without giving further details.

“We are pleased to have our colleagues back safe and sound,” MSF’s chief executive, Stephen Cornish, said in an email to AFP.

The five comprise three aid workers with Chadian, Senegalese and French-Ivorian nationalities, and two Cameroonian security guards.

They were seized by armed men who entered a building used by the charity.

Fotokol lies in Cameroon’s Far North region — a tongue of land that lies between Nigeria to the west and Chad to the east.

It touches on the marshlands of the Lake Chad region, where Boko Haram jihadists and militants from the rival Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) are notorious for attacks on troops and civilians.

In September 2019, six Cameroonian soldiers were killed near Fotokol by suspected Boko Haram members.

Last August, 26 Chadians were killed in the marshlands just on the other side of the border.

But a local Cameroonian official, speaking after the abduction of the five, cautioned that the identity of the kidnappers was unclear.

“We don’t know if it was a simple robbery that went wrong. A safe was opened,” he said.

Violence in the Lake Chad area began with the rise of Boko Haram in Nigeria in 2009.

Since then, more than 36,000 people have died, most of them in Nigeria, and three million have fled their homes, according to UN figures.

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