French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said, “It’s a day of happiness, extraordinary happiness, for all French people to know that the Moulin-Fournier family is finally free, safe and sound.”
A French Family of 7 that was kidnapped on February 19, in Cameroon near the Nigerian border by Islamic extremists was finally freed early Friday morning, after 2 months of captivity. According to the Associated Press:
Cameroonian television showed the family of seven — four children, their parents and their uncle — stepping off an airplane, a man who had grown a thick beard carrying the smallest child. All appeared thin, but walked steadily.
Tanguy Moulin-Fournier, an expatriate employee for a French company and father of the family, said in a brief radio interview that the group learned their release was imminent just a few hours beforehand and that their return to safety went well.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said in a statement, “It’s a day of happiness, extraordinary happiness, for all French people to know that the Moulin-Fournier family is finally free, safe and sound. All hostage-takings are strongly felt in France, but this one was perhaps felt more because it concerned a big family with little kids.” According to reports the children range in age from 5 to 12 years.
No details about how or why the family was freed have come from officials, but French President Francois Hollande did say that authorities had “made contact with the kidnappers through intermediaries, and negotiations intensified in recent days.” It is not clear if any “concessions” were made to the kidnappers, but Hollande stated, “We use all our contacts, but remain firm on our principles. We are not changing the principle that France does not pay ransoms.”