Foreign ministry says French national kidnapped in Chad

N'DJAMENA, Chad (AP) " A French citizen employed by a private company was kidnapped in Chad on Thursday by unidentified abductors, Chad's government and the French foreign ministry said.

The French national was taken Thursday morning in the Sila region, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the city of Goz-Beida in the village of Ndoroti, Chad's minister of communications Madeleine Alingue said.

"The government of the Republic of Chad strongly condemns this odious act and informs the public that search operations have been initiated throughout the region to find the victim and his captors," the statement said, reassuring residents, both local and foreign, of their security in the Central Africa country.

The French foreign ministry said in a statement that French authorities are in contact with the Chadian authorities "to secure the release of our compatriot." The statement didn't give any more details.

Thousands of soldiers have been taking part in a French military operation in the African Sahel region, known as Operation Barkhane, which aims to fight jihadi armed groups operating in countries there, including Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad. The headquarters and the air forces for the operation are based in N'Djamena, the Chadian capital.

The kidnapping comes after a two-day visit by French far right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen. She visited the base for French operations in Chad and met with Chad's President Idriss Deby.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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