PARIS (Reuters) - Seven French hostages kidnapped in Cameroon have been found alive in a house in northern Nigeria and are safe with Nigerian authorities, French television reported on Thursday.
The hostages, four children and three adults, were captured by Islamist militants this week while on a tourist excursion to the Waza national park near the Nigerian border with Cameroon.
It was the first case of foreigners being seized in the mainly Muslim north of Cameroon, a former French colony, but the region is considered within the operational sphere of Islamist sect Boko Haram and fellow Nigerian Islamist militants Ansaru.
"The hostages are safe and sound and are in the hands of Nigerian authorities," BFMTV quoted an officer from Cameroon's army as saying.
France's minister for veterans' affairs, who told parliament on Thursday that seven hostages abducted from Cameroon had been released, said minutes later there was no official confirmation that they had been freed.
A French diplomatic source said there would be no official confirmation until French authorities had received physical proof the hostages had been freed or they were in French hands.
(Reporting By Emile Picy and Nicholas Vinocur in Paris; Additional reporting by Joe Brock in Abuja; Editing by Pravin Char)
(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2013. Check for restrictions at: http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp