The Cameroonian authorities paid Boko Haram insurgents about $400,000 (N66 million) to secure the release of Francoise Agnes Moukouri, wife of Vice Prime Minister Amadou Ali, and other hostages.
A source of SaharaReporters revealed the details of the deal, saying that the terms of the settlement included the payment of an undisclosed sum of money from the Chinese government.
Boko Haram subsequently released 10 Chinese construction workers who had been held hostage since their abduction in May. While Mrs. Ali had been abducted by Boko Haram in July from the town of Kolofata.
In addition, the Cameroonian government agreed to release four commanders of the Islamist group who had been in Cameroonian jails.
However, the most disturbing part of the deal is that Boko Haram militants reportedly demanded and received a significant supply of arms and ammunition, including a guarantee by Cameroon that the weapons would have safe passage to insurgent fighters.
According to SaharaReporters, President Idris Derby of Chad was instrumental in the negotiations because of his closeness to some Boko Haram commanders.
Initially Cameroonian Minister of Information, Issa Bakary, denied the report. However, the office of the Cameroonian President, Paul Biya, declared that 27 hostages, including Mrs. Ali, 10 Chinese construction workers, and the district head of Kolofata had been released.
The freed hostages were taken to Yaounde general hospital upon their arrival in the capital on Saturday, October 11, Reuters reports.
The Islamist group has wreaked havoc in Nigeria’s northeast zone and has made occasional forays into neighboring Cameroon.