Thirteen Cameroonian hostages including a Mayor kidnapped last year by a rebel group in the Central African Republic (CAR) have been released and returned to Yaounde.
They were released on July 17, according to the Cameroonian presidency’s announcement on state radio on Wednesday.
“President Paul Biya welcomed the release of Mama Abakai, Mayor of Lagdo (northern Cameroon), and his ten companions who faced the misfortune,” the statement read.
I am a Muslim and I say that everything that happens is written by God. It is God who wanted us to be detained for 15 months and 19 days in the bush. It is a closed page today for us to see the future.
Two other hostages taken at the same time had been previously released on July 11, they added. However, two hostages died during their captivity.
The Presidency has not specified the conditions of their release.
Some of the released hostages spoke to the Cameroonian state television saying they were chained and given little food during their captivity.
“I am a Muslim and I say that everything that happens is written by God. It is God who wanted us to be detained for 15 months and 19 days in the bush. It is a closed page today for us to see the future,” the freed Mayor, Mama Abakai said.
In total, fifteen Cameroonians were kidnapped overnight in March 2015 while returning from a funeral in eastern Cameroon near the border with the Central African Republic after they were ambushed by a group aligned to CAR rebel leader Abdoulaye Miskine.
Miskine is a former ally of the predominantly Muslim Seleka rebel coalition which has been in power in Bangui from March to December 2013.
He was arrested in 2014 on the border between Cameroon and the Central African Republic and held by Cameroonian authorities for several months. Some of his men are still being held in Cameroon.