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EU thanks African states after French hostage release


The EU thanked the governments of Cameroon and Nigeria on Friday after a French family of seven abducted by Islamic extremists while holidaying in Cameroon were freed after two months in captivity.

"We are delighted by the release of the seven," said Michael Mann, spokesman for European Union High Representative for foreign affairs, Catherine Ashton.

Ashton "joins the French authorities in thanking those of Cameroon and Nigeria for their contribution to this liberation," he added.

The hostages -- a father, mother, four children aged 5 to 12, and an uncle -- were all in good health, the French authorities said.

"The European Union reiterates its commitment to (aid) efforts by the Cameroon authorities as much to tackle economic development and social challenges, as to deepen cooperation with neighbouring states," Mann added of the EU's role.

The hostages were all in good health, the French presidency said, adding that Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius was on his way to the central African state to greet the family.

The family will be flown back to France on Saturday, Fabius said.