banner ad

Extremist Group in Nigeria Says It Killed 7 Foreign Hostages

| March 17, 2013 More

The message, identified as coming from the group, Ansaru, could not be immediately verified, though it included photographs that it claimed showed the dead, who were kidnapped from a construction company compound in February. The kidnappers seized three Lebanese citizens and four others from Britain, Greece, Italy and the Philippines. All seven were employees of Setraco, a Lebanese construction company with an operation in Bauchi State, local officials said at the time.

British officials declined to comment on Saturday. Two Nigerian military spokesmen also declined to comment and a presidential spokesman and a spokeswoman for the country’s domestic spy service could not be immediately reached.

The message, posted to an Islamic extremist Web site on Saturday, said Ansaru members killed the hostages after British warplanes were reported to have been seen in the northern Nigeria city of Bauchi by local journalists.

“As a result of this operation, the seven hostages were killed,” the group said in the statement. It said a video of the killings would be posted online. An online image accompanying the posting appeared to show a gunmen standing over dead bodies.

The group said a message from President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria that said the government would do anything in its power to free the hostages also contributed to the group’s decision to kill the hostages.

Ansaru previously issued a short statement in which it said its fighters kidnapped the foreigners on Feb. 16 from a construction company’s camp at Jama’are, a town about 125 miles north of Bauchi, the capital of Bauchi State. In the attack, gunmen first assaulted a local prison and burned police trucks, the authorities said. Then they blew up a back fence at the construction company and took over the compound, killing a guard in the process, witnesses and the police said.

The gunmen appeared to be organized and knew whom they wanted to abduct, leaving the Nigerian household staff members at the residence unharmed, while seizing the foreigners, a witness said.

In January 2013, Ansaru declared itself a splinter group independent from Boko Haram, the north’s main terrorist group, analysts say. Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is sacrilege,” has conducted a guerrilla campaign of bombings and shootings across Nigeria’s predominantly Muslim north.

On Saturday, a military spokesman said at least two soldiers and 52 Boko Haram fighters were killed in Maiduguri in fighting after a visit by the president. Those tallies could not be independently confirmed. Security forces often play down their casualties, as well as those of civilians in the guerrilla fighting.

Britain previously linked Ansaru to the May 2011 kidnapping of Christopher McManus, who was abducted with Franco Lamolinara, an Italian, from a home in Kebbi State. The men were held for months, before their captors killed them in March 2012 them during a failed Nigerian military raid backed up by British special forces in Sokoto, the main city in Nigeria’s northwest.

Ansaru also claimed that it kidnapped of a French citizen working on a renewable energy project in Nigeria’s northern Katsina State in December. In late February, a group of men claiming to belong to Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of seven French tourists from northern Cameroon.

Category: Bauchi State News

Comments are closed.