A video posted on YouTube appears to show seven members of a French family, including four children, who were abducted by militants in northern Cameroon with the Nigeria border last week.
The video showed an armed man reading a statement in front of two men, a woman and four children from in a very small space with Arabic inscriptions on the wall.
The reader claimed to be from the Nigerian militant group Boko Haram and demanded the release of prisoners in Cameroon and Nigeria from the statement he read.
The family was abducted last Tuesday by gunmen on motorbikes in northern Cameroon on the Nigerian border when they were returning from a tourist visit from the Waza National Park.
Following the abduction, the French government said it believed the couple, their children aged five, eight, ten, and twelve together with their uncle were taken across the border into Nigeria, probably by Boko Haram.
On Thursday, France confirmed it had received information that the group Boko Haram is claiming to be holding the French family but did not give further details.
“These images are terribly shocking and display cruelty without limits,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said in a statement.
In the video, one of the male hostages said they had been kidnapped by Jamaatu Ahlis Sunna Liddaawati wal-Jihad – the Arabic name for Boko Haram. Meanwhile, French nationals have been urged to leave northern Cameroon as quickly as possible.
The French foreign ministry said on its website that its citizens were officially advised not to go to the far north of Cameroon (the shores of Lake Chad in the South Maroua), and the border with Nigeria, until further notice.
Boko Haram has staged many attacks across northern Nigeria in recent years, targeting churches, government buildings, the security forces and civilians.
One of the alleged abductor warned that France had launched a war on Islam by intervening in Mali to fight Islamist Fighters who want to capture Mali and make it an Islamic State.
It is unclear what the French government will do next to rescue the hostages but President Hollande said last week that France will do everything possible to rescue the hostages.
Issaka Adams / NationalTurk Africa News