Reuters reports that Hollande told journalists during a visit to Greece that the French tourists were abducted by members of the Islamic sect that had been perpetrating violence in Nigeria.
“They have been taken by a terrorist group that we know and that is in Nigeria. I see the hand of (Nigerian militants) Boko Haram in that part of Cameroon. France is in Mali, and it will continue until its mission is completed,”
Hollande was quoted to have said.
Reuters also quoted Radio France as having reported that the kidnapped tourists were taken away by the terrorists on motorcycles to Northern Nigeria.
The seven tourists were abducted at around 7am in Dabanga about 10 kilometres from the Nigerian border near the Waza national park and Lake Chad in the extreme north of Cameroon.
Armed men on motorcycles intercepted the family in their car and forced them to drive to the nearby Nigerian border, an aide to the governor of the province was quoted as saying by Reuters.
The foreigners were undertaking construction work in Jamaare and Kafin-Madaki Local Government areas of the state when they were forcibly taken away.
A breakaway faction of Boko Haram, Jama’atu Ansarul Muslimina Fi Biladis- Sudan, on Monday claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of the foreign workers, made up of an Italian, a Filipino, a Briton, one Greek and a Lebanese. The group said that the action was in retaliation to acts committed against Islam in Afghanistan and Mali by Western powers.
A statement by a leader of the group, Abu Usamatal Ansary, reads,
“Based on the transgression and atrocities done to the religion of Allah by the European countries in many places, including Afghanistan and Mali, by Allah’s grace, Jama’atu Ansarul Muslimina Fi Biladis-sudan has the custody of seven persons, which include Lebanese and their European counterparts working with Setraco in Nigeria on 8th of Rabiul Thani, 1434, equivalent of February 17, 2013.
“Any attempt or act contrary to our condition by the European nations or by the Nigerian government will lead to the happenings as they were in the previous attempts.”