A Briton and an Italian taken hostage in northern Nigeria were apparently killed by their captors before the men could be rescued in a military operation Thursday, Britain's prime minister 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,” David Cameron said in a statement.
Cameron said credible information had been received about the location of Chris McManus and his Italian colleague Franco Lamolinara, who were seized by gunmen in May 2011.
“Preparations were made to mount an operation to attempt to rescue Chris and Franco. Together with the Nigerian government, today I authorised it to go ahead, with UK support,” he said.
“It is with great regret that I have to say that both Chris and Franco have lost their lives.”
Cameron said the two men had been held by “terrorists”, who had made “very clear threats to take their lives”.
In a video received by a Mauritanian news agency and seen by AFP in December, masked gunmen threatened to execute the British hostage if their demands were not met.
The Mauritanian agency claimed that the captors belong to a Nigerian group inspired by Al-Qaeda.
Cameron did not specify the identify of the kidnappers.
The Italian government also confirmed that the two hostages were dead. - Sapa-AFP