Nigerian Forces Surround Kidnappers of French Tourists
Nigerian security forces have surrounded the kidnappers of seven French tourists in the northeast of the country and are working to free the hostages, a security official in Borno state said.
Members of the Nigerian army and police Joint Task Force found the group in an area between Dikwa and Ngala, about 780 kilometers (485 miles) northeast of the capital, Abuja, the official said by phone today from Maiduguri, the state capital. He declined to be identified because he's not authorized to speak to the media about the operation.
The tourists, including four children, were seized on Feb. 19 at the village of Dabanga in neighboring Cameroon before being taken across the border. French security forces have helped Cameroonian authorities hunt for the abductors, said Awah Fonka Augustine, governor of Cameroon's Far North Region.
BFMTV, a French broadcaster, reported earlier today that the hostages had been released, citing unidentified people in the Cameroonian military. Cameroonian authorities have yet to confirm that information, Defense Ministry spokesman Didier Badjeck said in a phone interview from Yaounde, the capital.
Cameroon government spokesman Issa Tchiroma declined to comment on the Nigerian operation.
"It's a top state secret to discuss in detail security cooperation between nations," he said in an interview in the capital, Yaounde.
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