A French family that was taken hostage in Cameroon in February has been released, a Cameroonian government official said in a statement on Friday. The family of seven includes four children aged 5 to 12.
A French family of seven kidnapped in Cameroon’s Far North Region and taken to Nigeria by suspected Boko Haram militants arrived at France’s embassy in the capital Yaoundé on Friday, following their release.
Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh, the Secretary General of Cameroon’s presidency, issued a statement earlier on Friday announcing that all seven members of the family, who were “alive and well”, had been handed over to Cameroonian authorities late the day before.
France’s government confirmed the family’s release in a statement issued by the Elysée palace, which said that Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius had been sent to meet them in Cameroon.
Cameroonian Minister of Communication Issa Tchiroma Bakary confirms release of French family
French President François Hollande welcomed news of the family’s release as a, “huge relief that makes us even more determined to free other hostages still being held,” but stressed that France would not change its stance on refusing to paying ransoms to kidnappers.
According to the Elysée, there are eight other French nationals currently being held captive in the Sahel region.
Nicolas Moulin-Fournier, the brother of the kidnapped father Tanguy Moulin-Fournier, said the rest of the family never lost hope throughout the crisis, buoyed by an outpouring of support.
“That support allowed us to get through this ordeal,” he said.
Tanguy Moulin-Fournier, who worked as the local director of external affairs at the French gas company GDF, had been stationed in Cameroon’s capital of Yaoundé for two years.
The family of seven, which includes four children between the ages of 5 and 12, were taken over the border to neighbouring Nigeria, after they were taken hostage.
Gunmen claiming to be from the Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram later released videos of the family, threatening to kill them if authorities in Nigeria and Cameroon did not release Muslim militants held there.
The kidnapping coincided with France’s military intervention in Mali, during which thousands of troops were deployed to the troubled West African nation to help combat Islamist militants who had seized control of the north.
(FRANCE 24 with wires)
Date created : 2013-04-19