Men claiming to be from the Nigerian-based terrorist organization Boko Haram have released a video of a French family that was kidnapped last week in Cameroon. In the video the terrorists demand that the Nigerian and Cameroonian governments release Islamic militants that they have captured.
One of the terrorists who spoke in the video referenced the French-led intervention in Mali. From Reuters:
The hostage-taking highlighted the risk to French citizens in Africa after Paris sent thousands of troops into Mali last month to oust al Qaeda-linked Islamists operating in the country's vast desert north.
"The president of France has launched a war on Islam and we are fighting it everywhere," said one of the apparent kidnappers, speaking in Arabic and identifying himself as a member of Boko Haram. "Implement our demands. If you leave out even one, we will kill these people."
According to The Guardian one of the terrorists in the video said that the French nationals, who include three adults and four children, were taken in retaliation for the French-led intervention in Mali.
The video was released on the same day that the French government warned the 3,700 French nationals in Benin of an increased risk of kidnapping and attacks, citing a threat near Niger.
The video of the hostages and the new warning come amid news that Chadian soldiers, who are assisting French and Malian forces, have been engaged in fighting against Islamic militants in the north of Mali, with 23 Chadian soldiers and 93 Islamic militants reportedly killed.
At least one French official believes that the French intervention in Mali has led to an increased risk of domestic terrorism. The recent kidnapping and warning in Benin are the most recent reminders that the French government should continue to expect retaliations for the intervention in Mali, at home and abroad.