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KIDNAPPING

‘Kidnapped French father’ makes appeal in video

A man identified as the father of a kidnapped French family has spoken on a video obtained by AFP on Monday, which claimed to be a recording made by Nigeria's Islamist rebels Boko Haram.

'Kidnapped French father' makes appeal in video
An image of the kidnapped family taken from a video released last month. Photo:AFP

In the recording the man appears to read from a statement pleading for the French ambassador to work for their release.

He identifies himself as Tanguy Moulin-Fournier and reads the statement in French and in English, detailing the family of seven's February 19 kidnapping in Cameroon, which he says occurred "25 days ago."

The recording obtained by AFP is only audio, though it was said to have been taken from a video.

The man says the family was abducted by Jamaatu Ahlisunnah Lidda'awatiwal Jihad, what the Nigerian Islamist extremist group known as Boko Haram has said it wants to be known as.

He says the conditions of their capture have becoming increasingly difficult, specifically mentioning the four children, saying the youngest was four years old.

He repeats previous Boko Haram demands made in a YouTube video posted online in February calling for the release of prisoners in Cameroon and Nigeria.

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.

Cameroon has said the victims, which included the couple, their children and an uncle, were taken over the border into restive northeastern Nigeria after their abduction, though their precise whereabouts have remained unknown.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius held talks with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja on Saturday on efforts to free the family. Fabius had visited Cameroon the previous day.

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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.