French ecologist kidnapped in Chad

N’DJAMENA, Chad (HPD) — A French wildlife conservationist has been kidnapped by unknown assailants in northeastern Chad, the governments of both countries said Saturday.

Jerome Hugonnot was working for the Sahara Conservation Fund in Wadi Fara province, which borders Sudan, at the time he was kidnapped on Friday, Chadian government spokesman Aziz Mahamet Saleh said in a statement.

The Chadian government has mobilized all its resources to find Hugonnot, Saleh said, adding that the kidnappers are “as yet unidentified individuals.” Several armed groups operate on the border between Chad and Sudan.

“We are aware of the kidnapping of one of our compatriots in Chad and we maintain communication with his family, as well as with the Chadian authorities, in order to achieve his rapid release,” the French Interior Ministry said in a statement.

French media reported that Hugonnot also has Australian citizenship.

The Sahara Conservation Fund and its partners have been working in Chad for years to reintroduce a species of desert antelope known as the scimitar-horned oryx.

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