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Wife of Frenchman kidnapped in Nigeria says her husband was not the intended target

media Ansaru group holding hostages Reuters

The wife of a Frenchman kidnapped last week in northern Nigeria says she believes the kidnappers intended to abduct two other Frenchmen instead of her husband.

Sixty-three year old Francis Collomp was kidnapped from a residence in the northern Nigerian village of Rimi, in Katsina state, where he was working for the French renewable energy company Vergnet.

His wife, Anne-Marie Collomp, told news agency AFP her husband wasn’t supposed to work in December.

“But since we have no children, he went [there] to replace two Frenchmen; fathers who were due to go home for the Christmas and New Year holidays,” she said.

“When the kidnappers went inside [the residence], they asked: ‘where are the Frenchmen?’ They only found my husband,” she added.

Speaking from the couple’s home on the French overseas department of Réunion, Mrs Collomp said her husband “loved Africa and his work,” and often went to work in Nigeria for four to six months at a time.

Her biggest worry is her husband’s health.

“My husband underwent a triple bypass 12 years ago. He needs to take his medication every day; this is what worries me the most,” she said.

“I am very anxious. I don’t listen to the radio any more, nor watch the television. I don’t know what state he is in,” she added.

“The Quai d’Orsay [French foreign ministry] tell us they’re working on it, that we shouldn’t worry, but we live far away and we still have no news,” she said.

On Sunday, Ansaru, a radical group with suspected links to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb [Aqim], claimed responsibility of the kidnapping, citing France's support for a military intervention to drive out Islamists in northern Mali as a reason.

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