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Cameroon's president orders tight security and urgent rescue of kidnapped French tourists

Cameroon's president has ordered that tight security measures be used to rescue the seven French tourists kidnapped by armed gunmen in the West African nation's northern region.

A ministry statement late Tuesday said the president said urgent steps must be taken to seek the hostages, and that the Cameroonian government is in contact with Nigerian and French authorities.

A French family of seven — including four children — was kidnapped on Tuesday in northern Cameroon. Officials suggested the involvement of one of Nigeria's Islamic extremist sects.

A Cameroonian government official said military helicopters are being used in the search.

The French gas group GDF Suez identified the captives as an employee working in the Cameroon capital of Yaounde and his family. It said the family was vacationing in the north.