French priest kidnapped

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A French priest has been kidnapped in northern Cameroon close to the border with Nigeria. Georges Vandenbeusch was seized in the early hours of Thursday in Koza, about 30km (19 miles) from the border. “We are working with Cameroonian authorities to secure his release,” French officials said in a statement.

The Nigerian Islamist militant group, Boko Haram, is known to operate in the area.

France says it warned people that the area was dangerous but that “Father Georges chose to remain in his parish to carry out his work”.

Earlier this year, seven members of a French family – four of them children – were abducted by Islamist militants and held hostage for two months. The Moulin-Fournier family was first abducted near Cameroon’s northern Waza National Park, which lies just a few kilometres from the Nigerian border, in February. They were taken over the border to neighbouring Nigeria. Boko Haram was paid more than $3m before releasing the family, according to a confidential Nigerian government report.

The report, seen by Reuters news agency, did not say who paid the money.

Both France and Cameroon denied paying a ransom while Nigeria has not commented on the issue.


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