A VIDEO has appeared on YouTube of seven kidnapped members of a French family with their abductors, who claim to be from Islamist extremist group Boko Haram and have demanded the release of prisoners.
The video that France's foreign minister called "terribly shocking" represented the first images of the family to emerge since their abduction in Cameroon on February 19.
The kidnappers, claiming to be from the Nigerian group, Boko Haram, say they carried out the abduction in part due to France's "war against Islam", apparently a reference to French military action in Mali.
The more than three-minute video shows the family, including four children, held in an undisclosed location, surrounded by at least three of the abductors whose faces are hidden. It was not clear when the video was made.
"If you want us to release these French citizens, quickly release all our women you are detaining," one of the abductors says in Arabic, addressing Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan.
He calls on Cameroon to release "our brothers".
At the start of the video, the father of the family reads a statement from a piece of paper, his four children in front of him, his wife and brother beside him.
Two of the abductors hold weapons and ammunition, while a banner with two rifles hangs behind them.
The family, with children aged five to 12, was kidnapped in the Northern Region of Cameroon along the border with Nigeria while visiting a national park.
Cameroon authorities said the family was taken over the border into Nigeria's restive northeast.
When News Breaks Out, We Break In. Minute by Minute Report on Cameroon and Africa