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Cameroon frees 16 hostages taken by fighters

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GAROUA-BOULAI, Cameroon (AP) — Cameroon's government says its forces have freed 16 hostages who had been abducted by unknown gunmen believed to be from neighboring Central African Republic.

The armed fighters seized their victims in the Cameroonian border town of Garoua-Boulai last Thursday.

It was not immediately clear whether the assailants were Christian militia fighters or Muslim rebels.

Neighboring Central African Republic has been mired in sectarian violence since December, sending thousands of Muslim refugees to seek safety in Cameroon.

A statement aired on state radio Monday said the captives had been freed following an offensive launched into Central African Republic by Cameroonian soldiers.

Samuel Dieudonne Ivaha Diboua, governor of Cameroon's East Region, says authorities will be stepping up border patrols following the incident.

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