An official says dozens of children and teenagers who were thought to have been kidnapped by Islamic extremists from a village in Cameroon near the Nigerian border have returned home after having avoided being abducted.

Kadzamare Amin, chief of the Tchakarmari village, said Friday that villagers thought the children and teenagers had been kidnapped after disappearing as Boko Haram fighters attacked Tchakarmari and Kangaleri early Tuesday, killing nine people and burning down homes. He said they had instead escaped to a safe location during the attacks and remained until late Thursday, when it was clear they could return safely.

The governor of Cameroon's Far North region, Midjiyawa Bakary, said villages are developing ways of escaping from insurgents and protecting youth by directing them to safer areas during attacks.