[QODLink]
Africa

France vows not to negotiate with kidnappers

Defence minister says Paris will not play a "bidding game" with militants who kidnapped family last week in Cameroon.
Last Modified: 26 Feb 2013 14:35

France will not negotiate with gunmen claiming to be from the Nigerian group Boko Haram who kidnapped a French family of seven, the country's defence minister said on Tuesday.

The three adults and four children were seized in north Cameroon near the Nigerian border last week. In a video posted on YouTube on Monday, gunmen threatened to kill them unless authorities in Nigeria and Cameroon release prisoners held there.

But in an interview with RTL radio, Jean-Yves Le Drian rejected a "bidding game" with kidnappers. "We do not negotiate on that kind of basis, with these kind of groups," he said. "We will use all [other] possiblie means to ensure these and other hostage are freed."

The abduction was the first case of foreigners being seized in the mostly Muslim north of Cameroon, a former French colony. But the region - with typically porous borders - is considered within the operational sphere of Boko Haram and fellow Nigerian militants Ansaru.

'A war on Islam'

The kidnapping highlighted the risk to French citizens in Africa since Paris sent troops into Mali to oust Islamists there.

"The president of France has launched a war on Islam," said one of the apparent kidnappers in the video, warning the hostages would be killed if their demands were not met.

French prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault confirmed that Boko Haram had kidnapped the family, saying they were probably being held in Nigeria.

"The video tape... is being studied by our [intelligence] services, who are examining precisely the nature of these claims," he said. "French authorities are in close and permanent contact with Nigerian and Cameroonian authorities."

A source close to the family confirmed the identities of the family members shown in the video to the AFP news agency. It was not clear when the video was made.

Cameroon's communication minister Issa Tchiroma Bakary said he could not comment because his government was not aware of the video.

The governor of Cameroon's Far North Region, Augustine Fonka Awa, said he was not aware of any Boko Haram members being held in the country.

343

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
A humanitarian crisis and a budget crisis converge in the heart of the human smuggling corridor in Texas.
Indonesian and Malaysian authorities are keeping a close eye on local supporters of the hard-line Middle East group.
Citizens of the tiny African nation say they're increasingly anxious of the fallout after alleged coup.
Assam officials upset that WWII-era Stillwell Road won't be used in transnational highway linking four Asian nations.
Informal health centres are treating thousands of Syrian refugees in Turkey, easing the pressure on local hospitals.
join our mailing list