YAOUNDE — The kidnappers of seven Chinese nationals abducted off the Bakassi peninsula in southwest Cameroon have demanded 15,000 dollars (11,000 euros) for their release, a Cameroonian source said Sunday.
"The hostage-takers made a request of ransom for 15,000 dollars," the source close to the matter told AFP. "The Chinese are prepared to pay the sum but the Cameroonian authorities do not agree."
A confirmation could not be obtained from Chinese officials. on Sunday.
The hostages were working for a private Chinese fishing company when they were kidnapped early Friday in international waters off Bakassi, according to the Cameroonian source and the Chinese embassy, quoted by Chinese state news agency Xinhua.
The previously unknown group of kidnappers calls itself the Africa Marine Commando, the Cameroonian source said.
The resource-rich Bakassi peninsula has been at the centre of a territorial dispute between Nigeria and Cameroon for 15 years. It was handed back to Cameroon in August 2008 after the International Court of Justice ruled in Cameroon's favour.
The marshy coastal region, potentially rich in oil and gas, has recently witnessed a spike in rebel attacks. Ten oil sector workers including seven French were kidnapped there in late 2008 by a group calling itself the Bakassi Freedom Fighters.