Reuters International

PARIS/N'DJAMENA (Reuters) - A French national was kidnapped on Thursday in eastern Chad, a French military source and a Chadian security source said.

"Everything is being done to get him freed," the military source said, adding that the civilian was taken south of the town of Abeche, about 800 kilometres to the east of the capital N'Djamena.

A Chadian security source confirmed the kidnapping. He said it was a man who works for a French company, but had no other details.

Chad has one of the region's most capable militaries and hosts the headquarters of France's 4,000-strong West African anti-militant operation, known as Barkhane.

Some 1,000 French troops are stationed in its former colony and about 1,500 residents also live there.

Paris launched air strikes and sent hundreds of soldiers into Mali in 2012 to drive back al Qaeda-linked rebels it said could turn the West African country into a base for international attacks.

The insurgents have since then been pushed back into the vast Sahel desert region and have warned repeatedly they would hit French targets across the region in revenge.

Two other French nationals have been held overseas, including one in Mali, kidnapped in December by Islamist militants, while another was taken hostage in the Democratic Republic of Congo earlier in March.

The French foreign ministry had no immediate comment on the matter.

(Reporting by Marine Pennetier in Paris and Madjiasra Nako in N'Djamena; Writing by John Irish; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta/Richard Balmforth)

Reuters

 Reuters International