France suspects terrorist link in Nigeria kidnapping

Reuters News

12/21/2012 2:04:36 PM - Reuters News

PARIS (Reuters) - France suspects a group with "terrorist" links may have kidnapped a French energy worker in northern Nigeria this week, a judicial source said on Friday.

No one has claimed responsibility for the abduction of the worker, employed by renewable energy company Vergnet, close to the border with Niger on Wednesday. Islamist groups linked to Boko Haram have been behind similar kidnappings.

France's DCRI intelligence agency has been ordered to investigate "kidnapping by an organized group linked to a terrorist activity", the judicial source told Reuters.

President Francois Hollande said during a visit to Algeria on Thursday that no effort would be spared to find the hostage.

The attack happened in the town of Rimi, when some 30 gunman attacked a Vergnet residence, killing a policeman and a security guard. A police station nearby was bombed and some inmates freed, a police spokesman said.

Vergnet is building Nigeria's first wind farm, in Katsina state.

The kidnap victim became the ninth French citizen being held hostage in Africa: seven others are in the arid Sahel belt and one in Somalia.

(Reporting By Gerard Bon; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)