Africa

Six hostages 'freed in Cameroon'

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Six sailors taken hostage by an armed gang off the coast of Cameroon have been freed, the government says.

The sailors - four Ukrainians, a Croatian and a Filipino - were taken hostage on 12 September by the Africa Marine Commando (AMC).

They were seized from a dredger near the port of Douala.

The AMC, from Cameroon's restive Bakassi peninsula, were demanding the release of eight of their men in return for the hostages.

The raid on the dredger, chartered by the Belgian company Jan De Nul, was the latest in the Gulf of Guinea.

Correspondents say there has been a recent increase in piracy off the coast of Cameroon and Nigeria.

The oil-rich Bakassi peninsula was disputed between Cameroon and Nigeria for 15 years, but in 2002, the UN's highest court, the International Court of Justice, awarded the territory to Cameroon.

It was formally handed over in 2008.

The AMC is a splinter group from another movement, the Bakassi Freedom Fighters, who say they are fighting for compensation for Nigerians displaced from the peninsula after it was given to Cameroon.

The AMC was first heard of in March when it kidnapped a group of Chinese sailors, releasing them after five days.

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