The French family of seven kidnapped in northern Cameroon have been found abandoned in a house in Nigeria. Paris has confirmed that they have been freed by the kidnappers.
The seven, an expatriate employee of GDF Suez, his wife, four children and an uncle, have been found in a house in the Nigerian town of Dikwa, the French BFMTV television channel reported Thursday morning.
Junior French government minister Kader Arif confirmed the news shortly afterwards but then withdrew his statement.
A Cameroonian military source had already told news agencies that the hostages were freed.
They appear to have been left their by their captors, who may have had second thoughts about holding children hostage, according to some analysts.
They are now in the hands of the Nigerian authorities.
The French foreign minister declared itself astonished by the news and said it could not confirm the report at 10.15 am Thursday and the presidency could not confirm, either.