Seven French hostages held abroad

17th November 2013, Comments 0 comments

At least seven French hostages are still held abroad, after engineer Francis Collomp, kidnapped in Nigeria, was freed on Sunday following nearly a year in captivity.

News of his freedom comes after a fraught month for France which had four long-term hostages released from Niger, two radio journalists abducted and killed in Mali, and a priest kidnapped in northern Cameroon

- MALI

On November 24, 2011, Frenchmen Serge Lazarevic and Philippe Verdon are kidnapped from their hotel in Hombori in northeastern Mali, while on a business trip.

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) claims responsibility on December 9 and later says it has killed Verdon.

On November 20, 2012, Gilberto Rodriguez Leal, a Portuguese-born French citizen, is abducted by at least six armed men in Diema, western Mali, while travelling by car from Mauritania.

On the 22nd, Al-Qaeda-linked Islamist rebel group the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) claims responsibility.

- SYRIA

On June 6, 2013, two French journalists, Didier Francois from Europe 1 radio and Edouard Elias, an independent photographer working for the same station, are reported missing in Syria.

French President Francois Hollande's office says it understands that the pair were intercepted by unknown kidnappers at a checkpoint while travelling towards Aleppo.

On October 9, the capture of reporter Nicolas Henin and photographer Pierre Torres is announced by their families and the French foreign ministry.

They were seized on June 22 while working in the northern city of Raqqa.

None of the armed groups fighting for control of the town have claimed responsibility or made any demands, the families say.

- CAMEROON/NIGERIA

Roman Catholic priest Georges Vandenbeusch, 42, was abducted from his home near the town of Koza in northern Cameroon, about 30 kilometres (20 miles) from the Nigerian border on November 14.

Paris said the area, from where seven members of a French family were kidnapped by Islamist militants in February and held hostage for two months, had been declared a dangerous zone.

A day later Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram claims to be holding the priest and both Cameroonian and French authorities have expressed fears he has been moved across the border into Nigeria.


© 2013 AFP

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