YAOUNDE, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) — Cameroonian politicians, officials and legal professionals expressed their concerns here on Sunday over increasing abduction cases in its mountainous Adamawa region.

“Adamawa is going through the worst moments in its history. We are worried. Abductions and paying ransom is now very common in the region. Villages have been deserted and the economy is crumbling,” Theophile Baoro, a representative of the Adamawa region, told reporters as a crisis meeting closed here.

About 150 cases of kidnapping took place in the region last year, according to local authorities. At least 500 million fcfa (about 900,000 U.S. dollars) is estimated to have been paid as ransom.

In December last year, three pastoralists were captured and killed by the kidnappers.

“We are hoping that the population will work hand in hand with the security forces to end this nightmare,” Baoro said.

“These are armed robbers looking for victims. They have been terrorizing the population for money. They mostly operate in villages and along the highway,” a local who asked not to be named told Xinhua.

Highway robbers had previously operated in the rugged and sparsely-populated region, but were forced to escape after Cameroon elite force, Rapid Intervention Battalion, intervened.

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