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French urged to leave northern Cameroon

Feb. 20, 2013 at 8:10 AM

YAOUNDE, Cameroon, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- France's foreign minister is urging French citizens in northern Cameroon to leave the country following the kidnapping of a French family of seven.

A French couple, their four young children and an uncle were taken by six gunmen on motorbikes near Cameroon's border with Nigeria, Radio France Internationale reported Wednesday.

French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said officials believe the Nigerian separatist group Boko Haram carried out the kidnapping.

"These are groups that claim the same fundamentalism, who use the same methods, whether it's in Mali, Somalia or Nigeria," Le Drian said.

Cameroonian officials confirmed reports that the family has been taken into Nigeria and police in both countries are investigating.

The father of the kidnapped family is employed by the French gas company GDF Suez and the family lives in Yaounde, a spokesman for GDF Suez said.

France's involvement in the conflict in Mali has resulted in threats against French interests and expatriates, the French foreign ministry said.

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