Skip to main content

France says it will not negotiate with rebels who kidnapped family

From Marilia Brocchetto, CNN
February 26, 2013 -- Updated 1630 GMT (0030 HKT)
Cameroonian security officials stand at the vehicle a French family was driving before being kidnapped.
Cameroonian security officials stand at the vehicle a French family was driving before being kidnapped.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The minister's statement comes after rebels show video of kidnapped family
  • The family of seven was kidnapped in Cameroon
  • A masked spokesman says France has declared war in Islam
  • Boko Haram wants jailed members and their wives released

(CNN) -- France will not negotiate with the Islamist rebels who kidnapped a French family in Cameroon, Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Tuesday.

"We do not negotiate on these bases, with those groups," Le Drian said on French radio station RTL. "We will use all possible means to secure the release of hostages."

The radio announcement comes a day after rebels in Nigeria released a chilling video of the family that was abducted in neighboring Cameroon.

The seven-member family was flanked by armed fighters from the Boko Haram movement in the brief video. One of the captive men read a statement demanding that Nigeria and Cameroon free jailed members of Boko Haram, which is battling to establish Islamic rule in northern Nigeria, and their families.

Obasanjo: Boko Haram undermine security

"Meet all the demands we have mentioned, and if you leave out one of them, we will kill these hostages," the masked man says.

France blasts 'cruelty' as Boko Haram displays kidnapped family

The family -- a couple, their four children and an uncle -- were seized in a national park in remote northern Cameroon on February 19. Authorities in Cameroon said they were quickly spirited across the border into Nigeria.

"This is the first time there are children hostages," Le Drian said. "This is an unacceptable situation."

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius denounced the video Monday, saying, "All of the state services are mobilized to free our countrymen."

"For all of us, these images are terribly shocking. They demonstrate cruelty without limits," Fabius said in a statement.

The kidnapping has raised fears of Westerners being targeted by Islamist militant groups in Africa in the wake of the French military intervention against other Islamist rebels in Mali. The masked man in the video says French President Francois Hollande "started war against Islam, and we must fight him everywhere."

The father works for the French company GDF Suez and is based in Yaounde, the capital in southern Cameroon. GDF Suez, which is developing a natural gas liquefaction project in Cameroon, said it was working closely with the French Foreign Ministry.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 2319 GMT (0719 HKT)
China and likely other countries have the capacity to shut down the U.S. power grid, says the NSA.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 0121 GMT (0921 HKT)
If it wasn't for a comic's skit, Bill Cosby would still be America's favorite father, says expert.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 1550 GMT (2350 HKT)
Obama orders the most sweeping overhaul of U.S. immigration in decades, prioritizing the deportation of "felons, not families."
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 2106 GMT (0506 HKT)
Fighters loyal to ISIS are now in control of Derna, a city on Libya's Mediterranean coast.
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 1945 GMT (0345 HKT)
The founder of a U.S. nonprofit that works with returning soldiers is named CNN's Hero of the Year.
November 17, 2014 -- Updated 1324 GMT (2124 HKT)
It's a very big challenge but NASA chief scientist Ellen Stofan thinks it can be done.
November 17, 2014 -- Updated 0039 GMT (0839 HKT)
CNN's Atika Shubert explains how the most recent ISIS video differs from the other previous hostage execution videos.
November 17, 2014 -- Updated 1738 GMT (0138 HKT)
A Syrian cleric condemns ISIS and its execution of U.S. hostage Peter Kassig.
November 16, 2014 -- Updated 1720 GMT (0120 HKT)
Volunteer fighters in eastern Ukraine dig down just 800 meters from the front line.
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 1729 GMT (0129 HKT)
TV anchor wears the same suit for a year. Female colleague wears new outfit daily. Who gets criticized?
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 1204 GMT (2004 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT