By Staff Reporter, EnStarz | Feb 20, 2013 11:22 AM EST
Seven tourists from France, including four children, were reportedly kidnapped in northern Cameroon on Tuesday, and it's said to be the second large hostage-taking ordeal to occur in the region within the past four days.
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According to The New York Times, the president of France and foreign minister are blaming Islamic terrorist groups that are operating across the border in northeast Nigeria, which possibly includes the dangerous Boko Haram organization.
The kidnappings seem to be associated with the fallout from France's military intervention against Islamist militants in north Mali, officials said. Overall, 15 French citizens are now reportedly being held against their will in West Africa.
The seven individuals that were kidnapped on Tuesday are all part of a family from Yaounde, which is Cameroon's capital. They were said to be camping out on Monday night in Waza National Park and beginning to make the trek to the animal reserve of Kalamaloue, with the hopes of viewing elephants, a Cameroon park official said.
A security official said that the group was taken near Dabanga, a frontier town, and brought across the Nigerian border into a region of semidesert, which is where Boko Haram is based.
In the past four years, the respective region has faced several assaults by the deadly terrorist group, including ambushes, bombings and other attacks on both security forces and civilians.
Unsuccessful counterterrorism strategies by Nigerian security forces are said to have only hindered the campaign.
The French energy company GDF Suez said on Tuesday that one of seven hostages was a company employee based in Yaounde that was heavily involved in the development of a natural gas liquefaction plant planned for Cameroon.
A spokeswoman of the company confirmed that the employee and his family were on a vacation in the far north when they were taken.
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