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Cameroon Kidnap Of 10 Crewmen 'A Gangster Act'

International Transport Workers' Federation

6 November 2008. For immediate release

Cameroon kidnap 'a gangster act'

The ITF is joining its Cameroonian and French member unions in condemning the kidnapping of 10 crew members of the Bourbon Sagitta and is offering any help it can to secure the men’s release.

ITF Maritime Coordinator Steve Cotton said: “This has been a barbaric spectacle: a violent kidnapping followed by threats that all the men would be killed within days if a ransom wasn’t paid, and now a possible death following an apparent rescue attempt. As we understand it those responsible for this affair, who call themselves the Bakassi Liberation Front, are protesting against the transfer three months ago of that area from Nigeria to Cameroon – a country which had till now little experience of the maritime crime taking place in the Niger Delta. We call on this organisation to act responsibly and return these men to safety if it has any decency and desire to be taken as a political movement, rather than just as piratical opportunists.”

He continued: “There are no excuses, economic or political, for what has been done so far. Anything less than unconditional freedom for the crew will prove that these are the actions of gangsters.”

He continued: ‘The unions and churches of Cameroon are united in outrage at this kidnapping and the callous threats that attend it. They, we and the Total Fina Company call on those responsible to do what has to be done now and let the men go. We are all ready to assist in making that outcome possible.”


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