Monday, 11 March 2013

POLICE INVESTIGATE ALLEGED KILLING OF 7 KIDNAPPED FOREIGNERS

The Bauchi Sate Police Command has began investigation into the alleged killing of seven (7) expatriates kidnapped on February 16 from a construction site of  Setraco Nigeria Limited in Jama’are Local Government Area of the state to ascertain the authenticity of the claim. The seven expatriates include four Lebanese, one Briton, one Italian and one Greece.

In an online statement on Saturday, 9th March, 2013, claiming the killings, Ansaru said it killed the hostages because of attempts by Britain and Nigeria to rescue them.

Italy, Britain and Greece confirmed yesterday that the kidnapped foreign hostages in Nigeria have been killed. But, Nigeria’s defence and security officials are wary of speaking on the reported killing of the seven hostages.

The Bauchi State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Hassan Mohammed Auyo told journalists that, “Police have no evidence that the kidnapped expatriates were killed. We are still investigating the matter. We are also investigating the genuineness of the information pasted on web allegedly by the group”.

In the same vein, a top security source in Bauchi said, “We heard about the killings of the expatriates as you heard about it. We are still enquiring to get the correct information, because we did not carry out any rescue operation either jointly or separately. We are still monitoring the situation”.

The British Foreign Secretary William Hague affirmed that all the hostages were, “likely to have been killed” by their captors.

“This was an act of coldblooded murder, which I condemned in strongest terms”, he decried, stressing his determination to work with the Nigerian government “to hold the perpetrators of this heinous act to account, and to combat the terrorism which so blights the lives of people in northern Nigeria and in the wider region”.

Meanwhile, the Agence France Presse (AFP) reported that the Italian Foreign Ministry in a statement referred to it as, “a horrific act of terrorism for which there is no explanation except barbaric and blind violence”.

“No military intervention to free the hostages was ever attempted by the interested government”, the statement revealed adding that the killings were “the aberrant expression of a hateful and intolerable fanaticism”.

Also, the Greek Foreign Ministry said that the “available information suggests that the Greek citizen abducted in Nigeria alongside six nationals of other countries is dead. Based on the information we have, there was no rescue operation”.  

An official of Setraco Nigeria Limited told AFP that he was aware of the report but could not confirm it.

The statement from Ansaru claiming the killings was issued in Arabic and English on March 9, 2013by SITE, Al-Qabidun Ala al-Jamr (Grippers of Embers) Media Foundation, an affiliate of the Sinam al-Islam Network. It also provided screen captures of a forthcoming video showing the dead.

In the meantime, Nigerian defence and security officials feel not to be in a position to speak as the situation is still smoggy. Presently, no one knows the location of the hostages or their bodies. If truly they are killed, this will not only be a slap on the nation’s defence and intelligence security apparatus but also a national embarrassment.   

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