11 hostages freed by troops in Cameroon’s restive Anglophone region

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Soldiers patrol in Bafut, after the roof of a school's dormitory was set to fire overnight, on November 15, 2017, in the northwest English-speaking region of Cameroon. Authorities in Cameroon have imposed a night-time curfew on November 8, 2017 and ordered the closure of shops and public places in the main city in a region rocked by unrest among the country's anglophone minority. Four makeshift bombs exploded overnight on November 12, a week after four soldiers were killed in the two administrative areas where most of Cameroon's anglophone minority live. Their deaths have been blamed by the authorities on "terrorists" -- anglophones campaigning for the two English-speaking areas, the Northwest and Southwest Regions, to secede from Cameroon. / AFP PHOTO / - (Photo credit should read -/AFP via Getty Images)
Soldiers patrol in Bafut, in the northwest English-speaking region of Cameroon, on November 15, 2017. The years-long conflict between Anglophone separatists and government forces has frequently featured kidnappings. (AFP via Getty Images)

Cameroonian troops have rescued 11 kidnapped victims during a mopping-up operation in Southwest, one of the two troubled English-speaking regions of the country, the army said Friday night.

The operation took place Friday afternoon in Lebialem, a division of the region where armed separatists are known to train and host separatist fighters, officials said.

The hostages, including a Catholic priest and three women in their late 40s, were abandoned by the gunmen after a tough gunfight with troops, according to local authorities.

The victims, some of whom had life-threatening injuries, had been held hostage by armed separatists in an unknown location of the division for over a month, according to security reports.

They were abducted after separatists suspected them of conniving with government forces, locals said.

Armed separatists want to create an independent nation in the two English-speaking regions of Northwest and Southwest, and have been clashing with government forces since 2017.

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