Briton, Italian Die as Nigeria Hostage Rescue Fails
A Briton and an Italian held hostage in Nigeria were killed by their captors on Thursday as a joint British-Nigerian rescue mission stormed a compound to try to free the men, witnesses and security officials said.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said he had authorized the Britain’s involvement in the rescue attempt after being told the men’s lives were in “imminent and growing danger”.
Briton Chris McManus and Italian Franco Lamolinara, were working for a construction company when they were seized in May from their accommodation in Kebbi state, near Nigeria’s northwestern borders with Niger and Benin.
A witness told Reuters that security forces had tried to force their way into a compound in Sokoto, northwest Nigeria.
“The security agencies tried to break into the house but there was resistance. The people inside the house were shooting at them and they returned fire. They exchanged fire for some time,” said Mahmoud Abubakar, who lives on the same street.
“I saw a military truck come out of the compound with two bodies on it. I didn’t see their colour, because they were covered with leaves,” he added.
The captors were a faction of militant Islamist sect Boko Haram, a senior official at Nigeria’s State Security Service said.
“The hostage-takers shot the hostages before they even entered the compound. All the terrorists have been killed as well,” he said. “We arrested some suspects a few days before who led us to them.”
British special forces were involved in the rescue, UK media reports said.
“We are still awaiting confirmation of the details, but the early indications are clear that both men were murdered by their captors, before they could be rescued,” Cameron said in London.