Cameroon bank raid - soldiers arrested
Yaounde - Cameroonian authorities have arrested a number of soldiers and civilians suspected of being involved in a bank robbery in which up to nine people were killed and about $400 000 was stolen, the government said.
The arrests were made after information was gathered from mobile phones seized after one of the boats used in the March 19 attack on banks, including a branch of Ecobank, in the port town of Douala, was captured.
The attack highlighted the threat of seaborne attacks in the oil-producing Gulf of Guinea region.
"It is clear from information gathered from the mobile phones that some Cameroonian military and civilian personnel were involved in the raid on the bank," Cameroon's Communication Minister Issa Tchiroma told a news conference late on Thursday.
"They have been arrested, some of the money stolen from the bank is somewhere in the country, and investigations by the military tribunal is still going on," Tchiroma said, without saying how many people had been arrested.
Sources had told Reuters that about 25 gunmen arrived the suburbs of Cameroon's economic capital Douala by speedboat in the early hours and blew their way into the bank with explosives, making away with the cash.
Cameroonian security forces later said they chased the suspected robbers into the sea close to the Nigerian border in the Gulf of Guinea area and they killed 18 of the suspects in a gunfight.
Cameroon is one of the Gulf of Guinea region which produces more than 3 million barrels of petrol per day but is plagued by piracy and attacks on seaside towns.
There are fears such attacks are on the rise and nations in the region are poorly equipped to handle the threat.