Saturday, August 27, 2011

Cameroon ship attacked off Nigeria, captain taken

YAOUNDE-(AFP) – Seven heavily armed assailants boarded a Cameroonian ship with 150 people on board off the coast of Nigeria Saturday and took its captain hostage, security sources in Cameroon told AFP.
“The Cameroonian ship Monica was attacked around 8:00 am (0700 GMT). The captain on board was abducted,” a man, who was on the ship during the attack, said from Yaounde, adding that no-one was injured.
The information could not be immediately confirmed by authorities.
He said the ship had left Limbe in southwest Cameroon on Friday night headed for Calabar in southeast Nigeria.
“I was on board the ship. We were already in Nigerian territory … three hours from the city of Calabar, when seven heavily armed assailants boarded our ship,” he recounted.
“They explained that they had come to demand the captain to pay a ‘monthly security tax’. The captain said it had already been paid to one of their commanders. They said they were taking him to their camp, promising to free him after having verified that this ‘tax’ had in fact been paid.
“They fired a shot in the air telling the captain: ‘this is what will happen’ if the money has not been paid,” he said.
He added the attackers had asked those on board to “voluntarily” give them money. “Practically everyone contributed. In turn, they gave some money to a pregnant woman (on board).”
He said the ship was continuing its journey “as normal” after the assailants departed.
“There are 150 people on board and a lot of merchandise,” he said.