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
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2245 GMT (0645 HKT)
Pakistan Taliban say the school attack was revenge for the killing of children in a military offensive -- but they are being pressed by defections to ISIS.
A group that claims it hacked Sony Pictures has posted a public threat against moviegoers who see Sony's "The Interview."
December 17, 2014 -- Updated 0958 GMT (1758 HKT)
The gunman behind the deadly siege in Sydney this week was not on a security watch list, and Australia's Prime Minister wants to know why.
December 17, 2014 -- Updated 1246 GMT (2046 HKT)
Bestselling author Marjorie Liu had set her sights on being a lawyer, but realized it wasn't what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2027 GMT (0427 HKT)
CNN's Matthew Chance looks into an HRW report saying Russia has "legalized discrimination against LGBT people."
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0212 GMT (1012 HKT)
The Sydney siege has brought home some troubling truths to Australians. They are not immune to what are often called "lone-wolf" terror attacks.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0012 GMT (0812 HKT)
A social media campaign condemning Islamophobia under the hashtag #illridewithyou has taken off after Sydney hostage siege.
Bill Cosby has kept quiet as sexual assault allegations mounted against him, but his wife, Camille, finally spoke out in defense of her husband.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
China-bound AirAsia flight turns back to Bangkok after passenger throws water over crew member.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1026 GMT (1826 HKT)
It takes Nepalese eye doctor, Sanduk Ruit about five minutes to change someone's life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1054 GMT (1854 HKT)
This epic journey crosses 13,000 kilometers, eight countries over 21 days. Find out where.
December 17, 2014 -- Updated 1253 GMT (2053 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