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French family of 7 kidnapped in Cameroon

YAOUNDE, Cameroon (AP) — A French family of seven — including four children — was kidnapped on Tuesday in northern Cameroon, and officials suggested the involvement of one of Nigeria’s Islamic extremist sects.

Military helicopters are being used to search for the tourists, who were abducted from Cameroon’s Far North Region, a Cameroonian government official told The Associated Press.

The French gas group GDF Suez identified the captives as an employee working in the Cameroon capital of Yaounde and his family. The group was vacationing in the north, a company statement said without elaborating.

“The three adult tourists and four children were picked up early today (Tuesday) by men riding on motorbikes who rode off toward the border into Nigeria,” the Far North Regional Delegate in the Ministry of Forest and Wildlife, Jean-David Ndjigba said from the province’s capital of Maroua.

Military and paramilitary gendarmes said the region’s Governor Augustin Fonka Awah is in the field accompanying them in the search.

“As I speak to you right now, helicopters are flying over the entire province, and specifically in the administrative area of Waza in search of the kidnapped tourists,” Ndjigba said, adding that the vehicle the tourists used has been recovered on the borders flanking Nigeria.

Waza Park, a natural wildlife reserve in the Far North Region attracts mainly foreign tourists. But the area often suffers from raids by bandits lurking in Cameroon, Chad and neighboring Nigeria, who often abduct locals for ransom.

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