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Africa

French special forces in Cameroon following kidnappings

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-02-21

One day after a French family was abducted in Cameroon, French special forces arrived in the country on Wednesday from their regional base in neighbouring Chad to help with the hostage situation, a local governor said.

French special forces arrived in northern Cameroon from their regional base in neighbouring Chad, local authorities said on Wednesday, to help with an investigation to locate a French family taken hostage the day before.

“French special forces came in yesterday from N’Djamena to help with the investigation. They left yesterday and came back today,” Augustine Fonka Awa, governor of Cameroon’s Far North Region told the Reuters news agency by telephone.

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

French Army spokesman Thierry Burkhard declined to comment.

The Moulin-Fournier family was abducted near Cameroon’s Waza National Park on Tuesday, only a few kilometres from the Nigerian border. The father was the Director of External Affairs at the French gas company GDF, who had been stationed in Cameroon’s capital of Yaoundé for two years. The seven family members included four children.

Witnesses told Cameroonian and French media that men armed with Kalashnikovs seized the family from their car, separated the adults from the children and sped away from the scene on motorcycles. In a statement, Cameroon’s foreign minister said the hostages had been whisked across the border to Nigeria.

Fabius says France will not give into "terrorist groups"

On Wednesday, France’s Foreign Ministry urged its citizens in northern Cameroon “to leave the area as quickly as possible,” issuing an advisory against travel in regions bordering Nigeria until further notice.

In the meantime, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has hinted that paying a ransom in exchange for the hostages was not under consideration.

“We must do the maximum [to free the hostages], but nothing would be worse than giving in,” Fabius said. “We will not give into terrorist groups.”

While the French Foreign Ministry could not say how many French citizens are believed to be in northern Cameroon, a total of 6,200 are registered as living in the country.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

 

Date created : 2013-02-20

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