French President Francois Hollande confirmed on Tuesday (February 19) that four children were among seven French nationals kidnapped in Cameroon and said they were probably taken by a Nigerian militant group.

Speaking to reporters during a visit to Athens, Hollande said the seven were from the same family.

"I have learnt that there are seven compatriots who have been kidnapped in Cameroon. Three adults and four children. From the same family. Taken by a terrorist group which we know about and which is based in Nigeria. The greatest likelihood is that they are being taken to Nigeria. We are doing everything to avoid their being captured and held in that country. But we also have to warn all tourists who find themselves in that area of Cameroon to avoid exposing themselves," he told reporters

"But we shall do everything to find our compatriots. (Question: do you think it's a reprisal...) I see above all the fact that a terrorist group, in this case Boko Haram, is taking root in Cameroon. It's sufficiently worrying for us to mobilise ourselves. France is in Mali, France will pursue its action to the end. Actions are being carried out at the moment and operations under way. But at the same time, it's the entire international community that has to fight terrorism. Because it isn't just in Mali," he added.

Le Parisien reported that the hostages were expatriates living in the Cameroon capital of Yaounde.

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