April 20, 2013 – Freed French Family Recounts Ordeal In Boko Haram Kidnappers Den
Tanguy Moulin-Fournier, the head of the French family kidnapped by Boko Haram on 19 February in northern Cameroon, has spoken about their experience in captivity.
Emaciated and now bearded, Tanguy said in Yaounde: “We are all very tired but normal life will now resume. The conditions in which we were held were very difficult, It was extremely hot. But we did not have any serious problems.
“We are alive and we are infinitely happy to be free.“It has been very long and difficult, it was hard psychologically and we had some very low moments. But we stuck together and that was crucial.
As a family, we kept each other’s spirits up.”Tanguy and Albane Moulin-Fournier, their four children and Tanguy’s brother, Cyril, were kidnapped in Cameroon on February 19 and taken to neighbouring Nigeria.
They were handed back to Cameroonian authorities on Thursday night in circumstances that remained unclear after an experience that left them exhausted but otherwise in good health.Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius flew to Cameroon to greet the family and was expected to bring them back to France overnight.
Cameroon did not release any details of how the hostages were released but offered thanks to Nigeria and France. Fabius said they were freed overnight “in an area between Nigeria and Cameroon.”President Francois Hollande insisted no ransom had been paid and his aides said the liberation of the hostages had not involved the use of force.The family was held by Boko Haram, an al-Qaeda-linked Islamist sect which is blamed for killing thousands of people in an insurgency in northern Nigeria since 2009.
Their abduction came as France was deploying thousands of troops to fight Islamic extremists in Mali, another former French colony in the region.Eight other French citizens are being held hostage by various militants in the Sahel region south of the Sahara.The family were visiting the Waza National Park when they were kidnapped.
Tanguy Moulin-Fournier worked for the French gas group GDF Suez in Yaounde. He and his wife, and their four sons, Eloi, Andeol, Mael and Clarence, had been based there since 2011. Cyril Moulin-Fournier was visiting from Barcelona at the time of the abduction.News of their release was greeted with an outpouring of joy by friends and family in France.
“We have been drinking champagne and reading the gospel,” said Edouard Leconte, the priest in Albane’s home village of Regnie-Durette, in the heart of the Beaujolais wine region in eastern France. “It’s a really profound joy.”Tanguy and Cyril’s brother Nicolas added that news of the release had come completely out of the blue.“The family is extremely relieved. We heard the rumour via the media and the foreign ministry confirmed it almost immediately.
We had heard nothing to make us think a release was imminent.”The family of seven left Yaounde for France late Friday in the aircraft of French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.
The Moulin-Fournier family headed for home with the minister who came to meet them in the Cameroon capital earlier in the day and met with Cameroon President Paul Biya.
[Story culled from PM News]