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Kidnapped French family of seven freed in Cameroon

April 19, 2013 at 8:42 AM

YAOUNDE, Cameroon, April 19 (UPI) -- Seven members of a French family kidnapped in February in Cameroon were released, officials of the two countries confirmed Friday.

A statement from the office of Cameroon President Paul Biya said the family, which includes four children, the youngest not yet 5 years old, is safe, Voice of America reported.

The seven were taken hostage Feb. 19 by suspected Boko Haram militants acting in retaliation for the French military incursion in Mali, officials said.

The family had been vacationing in northern Cameroon, near the border with Nigeria, Voice of America said.

"It is with a huge relief and a great joy that the president confirms the liberation of the seven members of the Moulin-Fournier family," a representative for French President Francois Hollande said in a Wall Street Journal report. "They are all in good health and reached Yaounde [Cameroon's capital]."

French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius left for Cameroon as soon as he heard of the news, Radio France Internationale reported.

The French government said no ransoms were paid for the Moulin-Fournier family to be released. The reason for the release was not reported.

No group had claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.

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