French priest kidnapped in Cameroon
14 November 2013, 21:58
Paris - A French priest has been kidnapped in northern
Cameroon, the French foreign ministry said on Thursday, just months after
Nigerian Islamist sect Boko Haram captured a French family in the same region.
The ministry said checks are under way to establish the
circumstances and the identity of the kidnappers.
Georges Vandenbeusch was seized in the night of Wednesday to
Thursday in the region of Koza, some 30km from the Nigerian border, the ministry said.
Vandenbeusch had been a priest in the Paris suburb of Sceaux
until he left for Cameroon in 2011, the ministry said, adding he had decided to
stay in the region - which France considers to be high risk for kidnappings -
even though he was aware of the risks involved.
Boko Haram kidnapped a French family of seven on holiday in
northern Cameroon in February and released them in April.
French President Francois Hollande denied at the time that a
ransom was paid, but a confidential Nigerian government report obtained by
Reuters said Boko Haram was paid an equivalent of around $3.15m by French and
Cameroonian negotiators to free them.
The United States formally designated Boko Haram and the
Nigerian Islamist militant group Ansaru as foreign terrorist organizations on
Wednesday, making it a crime to provide them with material support.
Alain Marsaud, a French lawmaker representing voters based
overseas, told France Info radio that Vandenbeusch was 42 and had been meeting
some nuns and other people when armed men took him away, leaving on foot.