Cameroon’s defense minister Joseph Beti Assomo says at least 34 people have been declared missing after a military vessel with 37 people aboard, belonging to its Rapid Intervention Brigade, sank off the country’s Atlantic coast on Sunday. The missing includes a colonel.
The boat “capsized on Sunday between the city of Limbe and Bakassi according to Assomo. He says helicopters have rescued three soldiers and will continue the search.
Joseph Beti Assomosaid the accident is believed to have been caused by rough waters but investigations are underway to learn more
Assomo says the ship was on a routine mission to the Bakassi peninsula when it sank Sunday.
The oil-rich Bakassi peninsula was handed over to Cameroon by Nigeria following an International Court of Justice ruling. Nigerian forces had occupied the area in the 1980s, leading to violent confrontations with Cameroon’s military.
According to a statement from the president’s office, the logistics boat belonged to the Brigade, which has fought Nigerian Islamist group militants in recent years.
Cameroon has deployed thousands of soldiers to its Far North region to beat back a militants campain that has killed more than 20,000 people in the Lake Chad region and displaced more than 2.7 million.