SHARE
COPY LINK

KIDNAPPING

France condemns video of ‘kidnapped family’

France said on Monday that a video of a kidnapped French family with their abductors, who claimed to be from Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, was a "shocking" display of the kidnappers' cruelty.

France condemns video of 'kidnapped family'
Screengrab from Europe 1.

"A video of the French family kidnapped last Tuesday in northern Cameroon has been released by Boko Haram," Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said a in a statement. "For all of us, these images are terribly shocking. They display a cruelty without bounds."

The more than three-minute video shows the family, including four children, held in an undisclosed location, surrounded by at least three of the abductors from the Nigerian group whose faces are hidden.

A source close to the family confirmed their identities to AFP. It was not clear when the video was made.

Following the release of a video from the abductors French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault confirmed that Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram had claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of a French family,

France "now has the information that Boko Haram claims to be holding" the seven French citizens kidnapped last week in Cameroon, Ayrault said after a top-level meeting following the release of the video on YouTube.

Ayrault said the family is "probably 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."

Threats made to family

In the video one of the abductors speaks in Arabic while addressing Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan. "If you want us to release these French citizens, quickly release all our women you are detaining," he said.

He calls on Cameroon to release "our brothers" and warns the group will kill its hostages if its demands are not met. At the start of the video, the father Tanguy Moulin-Fournier reads a statement from a piece of paper, his four children in front of him, his wife and brother beside him.

The family, with children aged five to 12, were kidnapped on February 19th in Cameroon.

Cameroonian authorities said the victims, who were visiting a national park at the time, were taken over the border into Nigeria's restive northeast after being abducted.

There was widespread confusion on February 21st, when  France was forced to deny a claim that the family had been freed. The French foreign ministry released a statement formally denying "the information that the French hostages had been released".

Earlier that day, a Cameroonian military source had told AFP the seven members of a French family who were seized had been found in northern Nigeria.

"The hostages are safe and sound and are in the hands of Nigerian authorities," the source said on condition of anonymity. "They were found abandoned in a house in Dikwa" in northern Nigeria, the source added.

The family's liberation was falsely reported throughout the French media.

A French minister came under fire for initially confirming the family's release to AFP, before backtracking immediately and declaring he could not confirm the family had been found.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

RESTAURANT

Another person charged in Nice hotelier ‘kidnapping’ case

Another person has been charged over the suspected kidnapping of a millionaire French hotel magnate, who was found tied up in the back of a van in 2016, the prosecutor in Nice said on Friday.

Another person charged in Nice hotelier 'kidnapping' case
The Grand Hotel in Cannes, co-owned by Jacqueline Veyrac. Photo: Valery Hache/AFP

Jacqueline Veyrac, 76, the owner of the Michelin-starred La Reserve restaurant in the French Riviera city of Nice was snatched last October as she was getting into her SUV.

She was discovered 48 hours later after being spotted by a passerby bound, gagged and tied to the van's floor.

The legal development comes after five people, four men and a woman, were questioned by investigators about their possible participation in the kidnapping after being arrested earlier this week.

In total, 16 people have already been implicated in the case, including nine who have been imprisoned.

The former manager of a gourmet restaurant in Nice, identified as Giuseppe S, is suspected of ordering the kidnapping because he harboured a grudge against Veyrac.

Originally from Turin, he managed La Reserve from 2007 until 2009 when his company went into liquidation.

Investigators believe this caused him to resent Veyrac, and suspect the kidnapping was a bid to recover money lost during the liquidation by demanding a ransom from those close to her.

Veyrac, whose husband died five years ago, co-owns the five-star Grand Hotel, as well as La Reserve, with one of her sons.

Veyrac was targeted in another attempted kidnapping in 2013, commissioned by the same man, according to the investigation.