Soldiers claim to have found French family held hostage

Fri, Feb 22, 2013, 00:00

Nigerian security forces say they have surrounded the kidnappers of a French family in northeast Borno state in an operation to rescue the hostages, denying earlier reports that they were free.

The Nigerian military located the hostages and kidnappers between Dikwa and Ngala in the far northeast, the military source in Borno said, asking not to be identified.

Dikwa is less than 80km from the border with Cameroon where the three adults and four children were taken hostage on Tuesday. A senior Cameroonian military official declined to comment.

French gendarmes (soldier police), backed by special forces, arrived in northern Cameroon on Wednesday to help locate the family, a local governor and French defence ministry official said. The abduction was the first case of foreigners being seized in the mostly Muslim north of Cameroon, a former French colony.

The threat to French nationals in the region has grown since France deployed thousands of troops to Mali to oust al-Qaeda-linked Islamists who controlled the country’s north. – (Reuters)