Abducted French family of 7 not released
Category: NewsThe French foreign ministry has denied reports that a French family, kidnapped in Cameroon this week, has been freed.
Their supposed release dominated French media reports on Thursday, after a Cameroonian military source said they were "safe and well".
A French minister, Kader Arif, confirmed the news - but then was forced to backtrack.
On Thursday morning French media began to report that they had been found in Nigeria.
"They were found abandoned in a house in Dikwa" in Nigeria, about 100km [60 miles] from the border with Niger, a senior Cameroonian officer told AFP.
"They are in the hands of the Nigerian authorities."
The French veterans minister Kader Arif confirmed the news, but then backtracked, saying there was no official confirmation.
Cameroon's Communications Minister Issa Tchiroma Bakary then said: "It is a wild rumour. If this was true, the Cameroonian government would have already given the information to France," AFP reported.
After some hours, the French foreign ministry said in a statement that it formally "denied the information that the French hostages had been released".
Early Thursday morning, reports had it that the seven French citizens who were abducted in a town in Cameroon near the Nigerian border on Tuesday were freed by their captors in Dikwa town in northern Borno state.
Locals had told Daily Trust that the family was abandoned in a house in the town today.
They also claim the family have been evacuated to Maiduguri by a combined team of Soldiers, Policemen and Immigration officials.
The locals said the released family were unhurt.
The family of seven, including four children, two parents and an uncle were abducted by six gunmen on three motor bikes while traveling near the Waza nature reserve in the far north of Cameroon. Their vehicle was later discovered in a river near the Cameroon border with Nigeria.
The father in the family is an employee in French gas company GDF Suez.
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