Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Is Carla Bruni against a political comeback for Sarkozy?

Read more

DEBATE

Clone of Pakistan Protests: Democracy put the test (Part Two)

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan Protests: Democracy put the test (Part One)

Read more

ENCORE!

The French Maestro of Soul

Read more

FOCUS

US tobacco giants want lion's share of e-cigarette business

Read more

ENCORE!

Bold and bonkers: Kate Bush is back on stage

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Simon Serfaty, US foreign policy specialist

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'It's a War, Stupid!'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

French PM calls on ECB to go further to help economy

Read more

  • UN backs inquiry of IS group’s alleged crimes in Iraq

    Read more

  • French education ministry picture sparks racist abuse

    Read more

  • Video: Ukraine’s children return to school as fighting rages on

    Read more

  • US urges Israel to reverse West Bank land seizure

    Read more

  • Americans detained in North Korea call for US help

    Read more

  • Lesotho PM calls for regional peacekeeping force after ‘coup’

    Read more

  • Ukrainian forces retreat from Luhansk airport after clashes

    Read more

  • Teddy Riner, France’s unstoppable judo champion

    Read more

  • Death toll rises in Paris apartment building blast

    Read more

  • Iraqi forces free Amerli in biggest victory over IS militants since June

    Read more

  • French police arrest hungry hedgehog hunters

    Read more

  • Tripoli under control of militias, says government

    Read more

  • Monaco’s Falcao set for Man Utd loan on transfer deadline day

    Read more

  • Spain orders custody for parents of ill British boy

    Read more

  • Anti-government protesters storm Pakistan's state TV

    Read more

  • Web doc on French self-immolation protests takes top prize

    Read more

Africa

French nationals kidnapped in northern Cameroon

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-02-20

Seven French nationals have been abducted in Cameroon, French President François Hollande confirmed on Tuesday. FRANCE 24's sister network Radio France International had earlier reported that those kidnapped were taken by armed men on motorbikes.

Seven French nationals, including four children, have been abducted in Cameroon, French President François Hollande confirmed on Tuesday. Radio France International (RFI) earlier reported that the kidnapped French nationals were taken by armed men on motorbikes toward the border with Nigeria.

The seven were kidnapped by a Nigeria-based "terrorist group well known to us", Hollande said, in what was likely a reference to Islamist group Boko Haram, although no group has yet claimed responsibility.

The French tourists are thought to have been taken from the town of Dadanga, 6 kilometers (4 miles) from the Nigerian border, after visiting the Waza Park nature reserve.

A source from Waza Park said the tourists arrived at the reserve on Monday. "They slept in the park's tourist camp where they left this morning," the source said.

They were taken by five individuals on motorbikes around 7am local time, according to Sarah Sakho, RFI’s correspondent in Cameroon.

Sakho said the family's vehicule had been recovered close to Cameroon’s border with Nigeria.

Waza Park attracts mainly foreign tourists and the area suffers from raids by bandits based in Cameroon, Chad and neighbouring Nigeria, who sometimes abduct locals for ransom.

Stuck in the sand

A Cameroonian trader, who insisted on anonymity, told the Associated Press that he witnessed the abduction by chance while driving back from Nigeria. He said the French vehicle became stuck in the sand near Dabanga. A group of armed men on motorbikes then came up and forced the Europeans to leave their car.

The hostages were apparently taken away despite a crowd of people watching. “Nobody could help the white men because the kidnappers were heavily armed and they threatened to shoot anyone that approached,'' the trader said.

Cameroon security forces were scouring the area for signs of the abducted family. “As I speak to you right now, helicopters are flying over the entire province, and specifically in the administrative area of Waza in search of the kidnapped tourists,'' a regional delegate for the Ministry of Forest and Wildlife, Jean-David Ndjigba, told the AP.

CLICK TO ENLARGE MAP
Dadanga lies in Cameroon's extreme north, in a narrow strip of land sandwiched between Nigeria and Chad.

“We are, of course, in constant contact with the authorities in Cameroon as well as in Nigeria,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told a news conference in Paris on Tuesday. “As always, we will do our best, with the utmost care and determination, to try to rescue our compatriots.”

It is the first time that Western tourists have been kidnapped in Cameroon, although hostage-taking frequently occurs off the Cameroonian coast, the last such incident on February 8.

A little-known Islamic extremist group calling itself Ansaru claimed responsibility on Monday for a separate abduction of seven foreign workers in Nigeria over the weekend.

A total of 15 French citizens are currently being held in West Africa. In addition to the seven kidnapped in Cameroon, there is one being held in Nigeria and seven thought to be in northern Mali.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2013-02-19

  • NIGERIA

    Foreign workers kidnapped in northern Nigeria

    Read more

  • NIGERIA

    Boko Haram: Rocking the Nigerian boat

    Read more

  • NIGERIA

    Group claims kidnap of French citizen in Nigeria

    Read more

COMMENT(S)