French minister offers help to find abducted Chinese in Cameroon

PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 May, 2014, 3:27am
UPDATED : Monday, 19 May, 2014, 6:24am

France's foreign minister offered China his country's help yesterday in locating 10 workers feared kidnapped by Boko Haram militants.

"We have already told our Chinese friends that we are at their disposal in helping them find their citizens," Laurent Fabius said in Beijing, where he will meet Prime Minister Li Keqiang today.

The Chinese road workers were apparently taken from their camp in a night-time attack in northern Cameroon on Friday.

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A police official in Cameroon said yesterday that the abducted workers have most likely been taken across the border to the Nigeria.

"We are almost certain that the 10 Chinese have been kidnapped and transferred to Nigeria," the official said.

"The search continues [in Cameroon] but apart from small pieces of information I can't see what could come out of it since the attackers have left the country," he said.

He said all the helicopters that might have been used to survey the border area and help with the search were in the capital, Yaounde, ahead of the country's May 20 National Day military parade. The celebrations were also the reason the unit of elite Cameroonian troops that usually guards the workers' camp was not up to its usual strength.