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Seven Chinese nationals kidnapped near disputed Bakassi peninsula

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-03-14

Seven Chinese nationals were kidnapped on Friday off the Bakassi peninsula near Cameroon's border with Nigeria. Seven French nationals were kidnapped in the same coastal area in 2008.

AFP - Seven Chinese nationals have been kidnapped from a trawler off the Bakassi peninsula in southwest Cameroon, several sources told AFP Saturday.
  
"Seven Chinese were kidnapped yesterday (Friday) morning in international waters off Bakassi", by an unknown group calling itself the "Africa Marine Commando," a Cameroonian source close to the investigation and rebel movements in the sector told AFP.
  
Contacted by AFP, the Chinese embassy refused to comment. But sources close to Chinese diplomats confirmed the abduction and the number of hostages.
  
"Yes, it's seven Chinese," a source told AFP, confirming their nationality and number.
  
Chinese diplomats and Cameroonian authorities "are working jointly to secure their release," she said, adding they were on a trawler at the time of the kidnapping.
  
The resource-rich Bakassi peninsula has been at the centre of a territorial dispute between Nigeria and Cameroon for 15 years. It was handed back to Cameroon in August 2008 after the International Court of Justice ruled in Cameroon's favour.
  
The marshy coastal region, potentially rich in oil and gas, has recently witnessed a spike in rebel attacks. Ten oil sector workers including seven French were kidnapped there in late 2008 by a group calling itself the Bakassi Freedom Fighters.

Date created : 2010-03-13

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