File photo shows Cameroon soldiers on the Bakassi peninsula, Cameroon. (Xinhua/Ngon)
YAOUNDE, July 17 (Xinhua) -- Thirty-four people went missing after a military vessel sank off Cameroon's Atlantic coast, the country's defense minister said Monday.
The missing were soldiers from Cameroon's Rapid Intervention Brigade (BIG) and three other soldiers were rescued after their vessel sank off the country's Atlantic coast on Sunday morning, said a statement issued by the Defense Ministry.
A total of 37 people were on board the ship, which was transporting materials such as food items and fuel to a destination near the Nigerian border.
Defense Minister Joseph Beti Assomo said in the statement that the military boat seemed to have sunk down and a search and rescue mission has begun.
The authorities have started an investigation into the cause of the incident while preliminary leads pointed to a very choppy sea.
As Cameroon's elite military force, the BIG has been in the front line of battling extremist group Boko Haram in recent years.