[ 2012-03-10 ]
Nigeria grills kidnappers of slain hostages
KANO, Nigeria (AFP) - Nigeria on Saturday
interrogated suspected kidnappers of two Europeans
killed during a botched British-Nigerian rescue
operation amid a row between Italy and Britain
over the incident.
Italian engineer Francesco Molinara, 48, and his
British colleague Chris McManus, 28, were believed
to have been shot by their captors before they
could be rescued in the assault authorised by
British Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday.
Nigerian security sources told AFP eight suspects
had been flown to the nation's capital Abuja and
had confessed to killing the two Westerners in the
northern town of Sokoto during a Nigerian-British
military operation to free them after almost a
year in captivity.
"Those that were arrested in connection with the
incident were brought to the SSS (secret police)
headquarters, Abuja yesterday," a security source
"In the course of interrogation one of them said
they killed the two guys on sighting the security
men because they were not sure they, too, will
survive the attack," he said.
Another security source said: "They are being
interrogated to have a complete picture of the
whole episode and they are providing useful
Italy has condemned Britain's failure to warn it
ahead of the failed rescue operation, but London
said it had been forced by the situation to act
"The behaviour of the British government, which
did not inform or consult with Italy on the
operation that it was planning, really is
inexplicable," President Giorgio Napolitano told
reporters on Friday.
"There needs to be a political and diplomatic
clarification," he said.
At an EU foreign ministers' meeting in Copenhagen
later Friday, Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi di
Sant'Agata said he made Italy's feelings clear
during talks with British Foreign Secretary
"I asked for detailed information because we have
a right to maximum clarity on this episode,"
Italy's foreign minister said.
Cameron said the two hostages had been held by
"terrorists" who had made "very clear threats to
take their lives", and the captives had been in
"imminent and growing danger".
Both countries have however agreed to cooperate on
AFP received a video showing McManus and
Lamolinara in August. In the footage, both men
said their kidnappers were from Al-Qaeda.
In a second video received by a Mauritanian news
agency and seen by AFP in December, gunmen
threatened to execute McManus if their demands
were not met. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan
said the kidnappers were from the Islamist Boko
Haram sect, blamed for scores of gun and bomb
attacks mainly in the country's northeast in
But the radical sect denied the claim on Friday.
"We are not behind the hostage taking ... which
led to the military operation yesterday in Sokoto
in which the hostages were killed," the group's
spokesman Abul Qaqa said in a conference call with
Nigeria's government "had better get its facts
straight and find the true identity of the
kidnappers," Qaqa added.
Diplomats have said some Boko Haram members have
sought training abroad, but there had not been
evidence of operational links with foreign
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has in recent
years claimed kidnappings of expatriate workers in
countries including Niger, which borders Nigeria
to the north, but never in Nigeria. Sokoto state
Source - AFP
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