Chinese fishermen freed after Cameroon kidnap

Kidnappers released seven Chinese fishermen hijacked last week in their boat off the coast of Cameroon, a Chinese embassy official said.

Chinese fishermen freed after Cameroon kidnap

Kidnappers released seven Chinese fishermen hijacked last week in their boat off the coast of Cameroon, a Chinese embassy official said on Thursday.

The official, who requested anonymity, said the crew were released on Wednesday evening but gave no further details.

Their vessel, one of many Chinese fishing boats in West African waters, was hijacked last week by a group calling itself the "Africa Marine Commando", the latest in a series of attacks on shipping in the Gulf of Guinea.

The group, which has no known history of attacks in waters off the disputed Bakassi peninsula, had demanded a cash ransom, though it was unclear if one was paid.

A Cameroonian foreign ministry official said earlier in the week that government policy is never to pay a ransom. Chinese and Cameroonian authorities had been negotiating for the release of the hostages.

While West African pirates have not attracted the same international attention as their East African counterparts, maritime analysts say they pose an increasing risk in a region with weak surveillance and rich in oil.

The last major attack in the Gulf of Guinea was in November, when pirates attacked an oil tanker off Benin, killing a Ukrainian sailor and stealing the contents of the ship's safe.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 18 Mart 2010, 16:23

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