The Governments of Britain and Italy have issued statements about the death of their nationals who were among the seven construction workers abducted and slain by Ansaru, a terrorist organization linked with Al Quaeda. The group posted a video footage showing an armed man standing over dead bodies believed to be those of the abducted workers. In the video, titled “Killing of Seven Christian Hostages in Nigeria”, a torch light was used to allow the camera capture a close image of one of the bodies which had a bullet wound to the head. They were captured in February when terrorists stormed the premises of Setraco, a Lebanese Construction firm in Jamaare in Bauchi State.
Ansaru also issued a statement claiming that the hostages were killed because of the British Government’s efforts to rescue them.
A statement from Italy’s Foreign Minister, Giulio Terzi on Monday reads inter alia: “we mourn the loss of our fellow citizen, who carried beyond the borders of his country the profound virtues and values of all Italians: hard and earnest work, tenacity and spirit of sacrifice.
This painful tragedy, which I have personally monitored, is further dramatic proof of the aberrant lengths to which fundamental extremism can lead. The atrocities we have witnessed show the brutality of fundamentalist hatred and stand as a warning that we must multiply our efforts to eradicate the ills on which terrorism feeds – ignorance, prejudice and intolerance.
Italy will remain in the forefront of the international community’s coordinated commitment to containing and preventing all forms of terrorism”.
Incidentally, a report on BBC on Monday claimed Nigeria’s Interior Minister says he does not believe the hostages have been killed and that rescue efforts would continue.
In a related development, the British Foreign Secretary, William Hague stated that “it is with deep sadness that I must confirm that a British construction worker, held hostage in Nigeria since 16 February, is likely to have been killed at the hands of his captors, along with six other foreign nationals who we believe were also tragically murdered. This was an act of cold-blooded murder, which I condemn in the strongest terms.
My thoughts are with his family, and the families of the other hostages, who will be devastated by this tragic loss. I offer them our deep condolences at this terrible time, and know that the thoughts of people up and down our country will be with them. I ask the media to allow them time to come to terms with their loss in privacy.
Responsibility for this tragic outcome rests squarely with the terrorists. I am grateful to the Nigerian Government for their unstinting help and cooperation. We are utterly determined to work with them 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.”
Slivano Trevisan, an Italian and Brendan Vaughn, a Briton were among the 7 hostages kidnapped on February 16, 2013.