Cameroonian gendarmerie arrest 20 suspected kidnappers

Supporters of the ruling CPDM party, Cameroon People's Democratic Movement of incumbent Cameroonian President Paul Biya, gather as a patrol of the Cameroonian Gendarmerie deploys in the Omar Bongo Square of the majority anglophone South West province capital Buea, on October 3, 2018 on the sidelins of a political rally. (Photo by MARCO LONGARI / AFP) (Photo credit should read MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: Some of the Cameroonian Gendarmerie on patrol in Cameroon. (Photo credit MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images)

Cameroonian gendarmerie have captured 20 suspected kidnappers in Adamawa and North regions of the country since August, a security officer said on Friday.

The suspects are specialized in kidnapping for ransom and armed robbery in the regions, said Brigadier General Divine Eko Ngwese of the Cameroonian Gendarmerie.

“We must make sure that the rural and even the urban areas are secure for our people so that the economic activities are revamped to the maximum,” Ngwese told reporters.

He said some captives were freed during the operation that began in August, adding that the majority of the kidnappers were arrested on the Cameroon-Chad border thanks to the “commitment of the population.”

“We will intensify the arrest of more kidnappers. The population is collaborating more and more so that we serve them better,” Ngwese said.

Some 300 kidnappings and 5,000 cows stolen were reported in Adamawa over a period of three years and at least 2 billion CFA franc (about 3.6 million U.S. dollars) was estimated to have been paid as ransom, security officials said in February.

The situation prompted President Paul Biya to deploy 130 special forces to restore peace and order in a region notorious for highway robbery.