….As kidnapped priests, nun regain freedom
Cameroun’s security has moved to stamp out Boko Haram elements in its country, killing 40 militants in clashes in the country’s far north, state radio said yesterday.
This came on the heels of the release of two Italian priests and a Canadian nun suspected to have been held by the Islamist group since April.
According to Reuter, a Camerounian presidency source confirmed the clashes, which took place west of the town of Kousseri, in the region bordering Nigeria and Chad.
Cameroun, which has been criticised by Nigeria for not doing enough to fight Boko Haram, it was gathered, deployed some 1,000 troops to the far north last week in its attempt to flush out the Islamist militants.
Meanwhile, the three ex-hostages were flown out of Maroua airport, in Cameroun’s far north on board a military aircraft yesterday morning. According to a Camerounian security source, they were released in the early hours of yesterday and picked up by troops near the border with Nigeria, where they were being held captive. “We spent a week in Nigeria for the negotiations, and they were finally handed over to us during the night,” a Cameroun military source told AFP on condition of anonymity.
The priests, named in media reports as Giampaolo Marta and Gianantonio Allegri from Italy, and Canadian nun, Gilberte Bussier, were seized on April 4 from the small parish of Tchere, some 800 kilometres (500 miles) north of Yaounde.
There was no initial claim of responsibility, but Cameroun security forces blamed Boko Haram Islamists, who kidnapped a priest and seven members of a French family in the area last year.