A video of what appears to be the French family of seven taken hostage by a suspected Nigerian Islamist group in Cameroon last week has been posted on YouTube.
One of the male adult hostages speaking in the video claims they were captured by Nigeria’s Boko Haram militants. The group is reported to be demanding the release of several prisoners jailed in Nigeria and Cameroon.
A threat to the lives of all seven of the hostages, including the four children who were seized, was issued by one of the apparent kidnappers.
Speaking in Arabic and identifying himself as a member of Boko Haram, the man said: “The president of France has launched a war on Islam and we are fighting it everywhere. Implement our demands. If you leave out even one, we will kill these people.”
The French foreign ministry has said it is attempting to authenticate the video.
The kidnapping of the family is an illustration of the growing threat to French interests in West Africa since troops were deployed to Mali. Paris has said it wants to begin a withdrawal of the around 4,000 troops it has there next month.