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Pirates kidnap Cameroonian prince at Bakassi peninsula

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YAOUNDE (AFP) – Pirates have kidnapped a Cameroonian traditional prince and his companion on the country’s volatile Bakassi peninsula, a security source and media reports said Tuesday.

“Two Cameroonian nationals were kidnapped Thursday on Bakassi by pirates who are demanding a ransom of 100 million CFA francs” (150,000 euros, $185,000) to free them, a security source told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Officials did not confirm the abduction, but private newspaper Le Jour also reported the incident and said the two men were the son of a traditional chief and his companion.

“The kidnappers telephoned the wife” of one of the victims to demand payment of the ransom, said the daily.

Kidnappings by pirates and attacks on government authorities are rife in Bakassi, where the state struggles to maintain law and order.

The peninsula has been the subject of a territorial dispute between Cameroon and Nigeria.

In 1993, Nigeria invaded and occupied it, handing it back to Cameroon only in 2008, after a 15-year dispute that dragged on even after a ruling in Cameroon’s favour by the International Court of Justice in 2002.

The swampy region, considered potentially rich in oil and gas but still under-explored, is home to several armed groups.

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