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Nigerian militants deny kidnapping tourists

Feb. 25, 2013 at 12:27 PM

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- The Nigerian militant Islamic group Boko Haram has denied it had any involvement in the kidnapping of seven French tourists in Cameroon, officials say.

"We have nothing to do with the French people or their abductors," spokesman Sheik Abu Muhammad Ibn Abdulazeez said.

Abdulazeez, accompanied by four other Boko Haram members who did not identify themselves, conducted a 30-minute press conference secretly Sunday at a television station in the northern Nigerian city of Maiduguri, the Leadership Newspapers in Nigeria reported Monday.

Authorities searching for the tourists "should better look elsewhere, because it would amount to waste of time if they continue assuming we are involved," he said.

Abdulazeez also dissociated his group from the violence that has rocked Maiduguri in the past three weeks. He said Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau was still committed to the cease-fire declared five weeks ago.

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