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View Full Version : Nigerian Hostage Deaths: Italy Demands Answers



neoxiang
9th March 2012, 11:36 AM
Italy is demanding answers over the failed Special Forces rescue mission in which the British engineer Christopher McManus and his Italian colleague Franco Lamolinara were killed.Prime Minister David Cameron had given the order for the operation in northern Nigeria to go ahead without briefing Rome.
The attempt to free Mr McManus, who comes from northwest England, and Mr Lamolinara also involved members of the Nigerian army.
Mr Cameron said the pair appeared to have died at the hands of their captors, although it was not clear when.
Sky sources said it is believed there was a fight and during the assault the UK and Nigerian forces could not get to Mr McManus and Mr Lamolinara in time.
"It strongly appears that the hostage-takers shot the hostages," the sources said.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said the pair's "killers" have been arrested and identified as members of the radical Islamist group Boko Haram .
The rescue bid was launched after the UK received credible information about the hostages' whereabouts and that their lives were under increasing threat.
Mr Cameron informed Italian premier Mario Monti about the results of the operation by telephone and London and Rome were said to have been in regular contact throughout.
However, an Italian senator and a Labour MP have called for an explanation of why the country was not informed about the military-led rescue effort until it was under way.
Mr Monti revealed the lack of prior warning in a statement in which he said UK and Nigerian authorities had determined the operation was the "last window of opportunity to save the hostages' lives".
He said he had requested from the Nigerian president a "detailed reconstruction" of what went wrong.
Lucio Malan, from the centre-right People of Freedom party - one of the country's two major parties - questioned why the British government did not inform Italian counterparts of its intentions before launching the operation.
Labour MP Meg Hillier, who chairs the all-party parliamentary group on Nigeria, said: "I don't know how fast moving this was but it does seem odd that an ally like Italy was not actually kept informed."
And former Italian prime minister Massimo d'Alema, now in charge of a parliamentary committee dealing with security issues, criticised the attempted rescue operation.
Speaking in Downing Street, Mr Cameron said Mr McManus and Mr Lamolinara were captured in Birnin-Kebbi, in the north of Nigeria, in May last year.
"Since then, we have been working closely with the Nigerian authorities to try to find Chris and Franco, and to secure their release," he said.
"The terrorists holding the two hostages made very clear threats to take their lives, including in a video that was posted on the internet.
"After months of not knowing where they were being held, we received credible information about their location. A window of opportunity arose to secure their release.
"We also had reason to believe that their lives were under imminent and growing danger.
"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.
"It is with great regret that I have to say that both Chris and Franco have lost their lives."
Mr Cameron added: "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."
In a statement, Mr McManus' family said they were "devastated" by the news.
"During this ordeal we have relied heavily on the support of our family and friends which has never waned and has enabled us to get through the most difficult of times," they said.
"We are also aware of the many people who were working to try and have Chris returned to our family, and his girlfriend. We would like to thank all of them for their efforts.
"We knew Chris was in an extremely dangerous situation. However, we knew that everything that could be done was being done."
Mr McManus and Mr Lamolinara - contract workers for the Italian construction firm B Stabilini - were seized by gunmen who stormed their apartment.
A Nigerian and a German, who were also in the building, managed to escape but suffered injuries after being hit by bullets.
In August last year, a video of Mr McManus and Mr Lamolinara was released by the kidnappers. It showed the pair blindfolded and kneeling in front of their captors who were armed with rifles and a machete.
There have been a number of foreigners kidnapped while working in Nigeria in recent years.
In September 2008, two Britons were held by the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta.
A Scottish oil worker was abducted and his guard killed in April 2009, in the Rivers State capital Port Harcourt.
Three Britons and a Colombian were kidnapped in January 2010 and in November of the same year, four men from the US, Canada and France were taken 7.5 miles offshore on the Okoro field.

source yahoo