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Boko Haram releases video of kidnapped French family

Boko Haram on Monday released a video online, which showed seven French hostages kidnapped from Northern Cameroon with three masked militants.

Associated Press reports that the video, posted on YouTube and mentioned on a jihadist website, shows one of the two French men reading a statement, with a woman in between them.

Four children sat on the ground near them, flanked by two masked militants dressed in camouflage and holding rifles.

A masked militant in the video said the sect kidnapped the Moulin Fournier family — three adults  and four children — who were taken from outside a national park in Cameroon on Feburary 19.

A black banner in the background, bearing the images of the Quran, flanked by two Kalashnikov assault rifles, resembling a symbol previously used by Boko Haram was also shown in the video.

The man said the kidnapping was due to the French military intervention in northern Mali, where its troops were fighting with Malian soldiers against Islamic extremists.

The man also threatened the Nigerian and Cameroonian government, calling on them to release their imprisoned members.

“Let the French President know that he has launched war against Islam and we are fighting him everywhere. Let him know that we are spread everywhere to save our brothers,” the man said in Arabic.

The man threatened to kill the French hostages if group’s demands were not met.

The AP could not immediately confirm the video’s authenticity on Monday, though it shared similarities with some Boko Haram propaganda videos published in the past.

However, in the current video, the man spoke in Arabic, while in previous ones, its leader, Abubakar Shekau, spoke in Hausa.

Boko Haram has not published a video featuring hostages before.

The video appears to have been filmed outside, as prayer mats hung in the background swaying in a breeze.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said in a statement that “for us, these images are horribly shocking. They show cruelty without limits”.
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