French priest kidnapped in Cameroon returns home

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Associated Press

Posted on January 1, 2014 at 3:03 AM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 1 at 5:04 AM

PARIS (AP) — A French priest kidnapped by Islamic radicals in Cameroon and held for seven weeks has arrived back in France.

A smiling Father Georges Vandenbeusch descended from the plane at a military airport near Paris on Wednesday and shook hands with President Francois Hollande, who was waiting on the tarmac.

There was never a claim of responsibility for the Nov. 13 kidnapping near the Nigerian border, but suspicion fell on the radical Islamic sect Boko Haram or one of its splinter groups.

Each time French hostages are freed, there is speculation about whether — or how much — ransom was paid. France insists, this time included, that it does not pay ransom.

Instead, Hollande credited the "relentless" work of authorities in Cameroon and Nigeria, but provided no details on the release.

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