LES ECHOS, RTL, FRANCETV INFO (France)

Worldcrunch

PARIS – A video has been posted on YouTube showing members of a French family of seven, including four children, who were taken hostage last week by Boko Haram, the Nigerian Islamist sect.

The three-minute video, which was posted on Monday, shows the French family – two men, a woman and four children aged between five and 12 – surrounded by three masked and armed men.

There is no indication of where or when it was filmed, writes French daily Les Echos. The family was kidnapped on Feb. 19 while on vacation in northern Cameroon.

In the video, the father of the family, identified as Tanguy Moulin-Fournier, reads a declaration in French: “We have been arrested by Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati wal-Jihad Boko Haram. They want the liberation of the brothers of Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati wal-Jihad imprisoned in Cameroon. They want the liberation of the women of Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati wal-Jihad imprisoned in Nigeria.”

One of the armed men speaks in Arabic to Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan: “If you want us to free these French people, you should quickly free our women who you are detaining.”

He adds: “We also warn the President of Cameroon to quickly free our brothers detained in his prisons. If our demands – all of them, without exception – aren’t met, we will kill those who we have captured. The French President has launched a war on Islam and we will fight him everywhere.”

French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, speaking on French radio RTL on Tuesday, held a firm line. “We do not negotiate with these groups, in these conditions. We will use all means possible to make sure these hostages, and others, are liberated,” he said. “It is terrible and horrifying, this is the first time children have been take hostage. It’s unacceptable.”

Speaking about the video, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius denounced “terribly shocking images” that show “cruelty without limits,” reports FranceTV Info.

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Society

Colombian Gen Z Wins Battle For The Right To Have Blue Hair At Graduation

A determined student's victory for freedom of hair in conservative Colombia.

Expressing herself

Alidad Vassigh

BUCARAMANGA — It may not be remembered alongside same-sex marriage or racial justice, but count it as another small (and shiny) victory in the battle for civil rights: an 18-year-old Colombian student whose hair is dyed a neon shade of blue has secured the right to participate in her high school graduation, despite the school's attempt to ban her from the ceremony because of the color of her hair.

Leidy Cacua, an aspiring model in the northeastern town of Bucaramanga, launched a public battle for her right to graduate with her classmates after the school said her hair violated its social and communal norms, the Bogota-based daily El Espectador reported.

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