Cameroon’s military has freed about 70 people, including children, held illegally in the north for periods ranging from eight months to four years.

Abakar Ahamat, the governor of the Adamawa region, said Tuesday that the owner of the camp, Mallam Danlatti, was detained after the release of the captives early Monday. Ahamat said it is believed the owner had links with some leaders of the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram in neighboring Nigeria.

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Ousmaila Ibrahim, 45, said he was one of the captives including about 20 men, 50 boys and two girls. He said they had been chained, given food and water every other day and were prohibited from bathing more than once in three months. He said the children were told this was a part of Islamic teachings.

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