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Governments: French conservationist abducted in eastern Chad

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A French national working in wildlife conservation was abducted in northeastern Chad by unknown kidnappers, the governments of both countries said Saturday.

Jerome Hugonnot was working for the Sahara Conservation Fund in Wadi Fara province bordering Sudan at the time of his abduction Friday, Chadian government spokesman Aziz Mahamat Saleh said in a statement.

The Chadian government has mobilized all its resources to find Hugonnot, Saleh said, adding that the kidnappers were “individuals not yet identified.” A number of armed groups operate along the Chad-Sudan border.

“We are aware of the kidnapping of one of our compatriots in Chad and are in touch with his family, as well as with Chadian authorities, in order to obtain his release quickly,” the French foreign ministry said in a statement.

French media reported that Hugonnot also has Australian citizenship.

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

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