French kidnap victims likely separated

2013-02-22 07:58

(Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Maiduguri - A kidnapped French family of seven has likely been separated into two groups by their abductors, France said Thursday, as Nigerian security forces combed restive border areas to find them.

The members of the family - a couple, their children aged 5, 8, 10 and 12 and an uncle - were abducted while on holiday in the West African nation of Cameroon on Tuesday by six armed suspected Islamists on three motorbikes.

Cameroonian officials said they were taken across the border into Nigeria, though Nigerian military spokesmen would not confirm that information.

One Nigerian security official however said on condition of anonymity that they were searching near the porous border with Cameroon in the country's northeast. The region is on the edge of the Sahara, where insurgents and criminal gangs have long operated.

"We are fully cooperating with Nigerian and Cameroonian authorities to find the location where our citizens are being held," French President Francois Hollande said in Paris.

He said the priority was to "first of all identify the exact place where [they] are being held, probably in two groups".

The family, who were based in Cameroon, were visiting the Waza National Park when they were kidnapped. They have been identified as Tanguy Moulin-Fournier and his wife Albane, as well as their four sons, Eloi, Andeol, Mael and Clarence.

Tanguy's brother Cyril Moulin-Fournier was with them at the time and was kidnapped as well. The three adults are all around 40 years old.

The family moved to Yaounde, Cameroon's capital, in autumn 2011 when the father got a job there overseeing the construction of a liquid natural gas plant.

"It's difficult because these are good people," said one of the guards at their home in Yaounde. "We didn't have an employer-employee relationship, they were family," he added.

The Nigerian security official said "intelligence reports have shown that the abductors may be holding their victims ... around the Dikwa area," referring to a town in northeast Nigeria.

"But I must tell you we haven't got the exact location."

Hopes had been raised when a Cameroonian military source said earlier Thursday the family had been found safe and well in Nigeria, abandoned in a house in Dikwa, about 100km from the border with Cameroon.

France's Veteran Affairs Minister Kader Arif confirmed that claim but later said he had merely passed on a media report. Cameroon's Communications Minister Issa Tchiroma Bakary bluntly stated that it was "a wild rumour".

An 'odious act'

Hollande has condemned the seizure as an "odious" act, saying: "This is the first time that children have been taken hostage in this manner."

The French foreign ministry has urged citizens in the far north of Cameroon to leave the area as quickly as possible and advised against travel to areas bordering Nigeria until further notice.

It could not say how many French citizens are believed to be in the north but 6 200 in total are registered as living in Cameroon.

Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said France would not give in to "terrorists", an apparent warning that a ransom would not be considered.

The defence ministry said a team of French gendarmes had arrived in Cameroon on Tuesday to help with the probe, adding that they were being "protected by French soldiers".

French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian pointed the finger at Nigeria's Boko Haram extremist group but said it was not clear whether the kidnapping was linked to France's offensive against Islamist rebels in Mali.

"These are groups that claim the same fundamentalism, who use the same methods, whether it's in Mali, Somalia or Nigeria," he said.

Nigerian officials declined to comment on Boko Haram's alleged involvement.

While French officials have named Boko Haram as the likely culprits, a splinter faction of the group known as Ansaru, which has risen in prominence in recent weeks, appears have targeted Western hostages.

Ansaru claimed the December kidnapping of a French national in northern Nigeria and the abduction of seven foreigners from a construction site in Bauchi state at the weekend.

In statements, Ansaru has protested against France's efforts against Islamist rebels in Mali and warned of further attacks.

Read more on:    boko haram  |  francois hollande  |  cameroon  |  france  |  nigeria  |  west africa  |  abductions
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

Zuma: Pray for peaceful polls

President Jacob Zuma has asked members of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God to pray for peaceful elections on 7 May.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Friday Grabouw - 11:32 AM
    Road name: N2 Eastbound
    DELAYS between Sir Lowrys Pass and Grabouw
  • Friday Cape Town - 10:14 AM
    Road name: M3 Inbound
    EVENT - left lane closed between Rhodes Avenue and UCT
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Canon EOS 600D

The Canon EOS 600D Digital Camera puts the widely respected...

From R5389.95

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Self-indulgence may be strong today. You may want to enjoy yourself to the fullest and share it with those that make you feel...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.