Kidnapped official in anglophone Cameroon region freed

Yaound - A top civil servant abducted in a southwestern English-speaking region of Cameroon over the weekend has been freed, a local official said on Monday.

Ivo Leke Tambo, recently appointed chairperson of Cameroon's anglophone educational board, was abducted by suspected separatist rebels outside the town of Lewo on Saturday.

"Professor Leke Tambo has been freed after being taken by kidnappers while he was carrying out his socio-political responsibilities," Bernard Okalia Bilai, governor of the northwestern anglophone region said on state radio.

He thanked local tribal chiefs and officials for getting Leke Tambo free but did not provide details on the circumstances surrounding his liberation.

"I want to take this opportunity to call on all actors in the region for calm," Bilai said.

Tension has soared in anglophone parts of Cameroon, accounting for about a fifth of the population, since separatists on October 1 declared the self-proclaimed republic of "Ambazonia".

The west African country has had a tortuous colonial history that saw it pass from German rule to French and British hands, and the anglophone minority complain of having long been marginalised by the French-speaking elite.

The past year has seen regular unrest which was ramped up further in January when 47 separatists, including their leader Sisiku Ayuk Tabe, were extradited from Nigeria.

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