The freed hostages were part of a group of about 80 civilians who were abducted by insurgents in northern Cameroon on Sunday in what was the country’s largest hostage-taking to date.
“The 24 people regained their freedom as the soldiers were chasing the Boko Haram militants. The insurgents were fleeing back to Nigeria from whence they came,” regional governor Mijiyawa Bakary told dpa on the phone from Maroua, the capital of the far-north region.
On Sunday, hundreds of insurgents attacked the villages of Mabass and Makxy in the Mayo-Tsanaga Division, near the border with Nigeria, said Bakary. The villages were burned down and three residents were killed.
Hundreds of Chadian troops entered Cameroon on Saturday to help the country fight Boko Haram, which killed thousands of people in northern Nigeria last year.
President Paul Biya declared war on Boko Haram last May, after the group started frequently infiltrating Cameroon from neighbouring Nigeria.