In a statement by Cameroon’s President Paul Biya read on national radio, he said the couple and their four children, aged 5 to 12 had been “handed over last night to Cameroonian authorities.”
The family was seized on February 19 by armed men on motorcycles while visiting Waza national park in Cameroon near the border with Nigeria. The father, Tanguy Moulin-Fournier, is an employee of the French gas group GDF Suez. He had been working in the Cameroonian capital, Yaounde.
“I spoke to the father this morning,” French President Francois Hollande said Friday, speaking in Paris. “He told me how happy and relieved he was.”
Hollande said there had been discreet talks in recent weeks aimed at securing the family’s release, but he was quick to quash speculation that any money exchanged hands: “France has not changed its position, which is not to pay ransoms.”
The French government said the six would be returned to France on Saturday.
But, as French troops fight Islamic separatists in Mali, there are still eight other French citizens being held in the region.
The release of the Moulin-Fournier family “will redouble our determination to free the hostages who remain,” Hollande said.