Two men held hostage by militant group in Nigeria have been killed by their captors during a rescue operation by British Special Forces, leading the Italian government to question why it was not informed about the mission.
Chris McManus, a 28-year-old from Oldham, Greater Manchester, and Italian Franco Lamolinara, 47, were originally taken hostage while working on the construction of a bank building in Birnin Kebbi, in northwest Nigeria, for Italian construction firm B Stabilini on 12 May 12, 2011. Both men were reported dead after a rescue operation mounted by members of the Special Boat Service and the Nigerian army which is said to have led to a gunfight lasting several hours. At least two of the men's captors, who were reportedly members of militant group Boko Haram, were killed during the raid in Sokoto, and a further two were captured. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said the captured militants "would be made to face the full wrath of the law".
In a statement after the raid, British Prime Minister David Cameron 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." Cameron paid tribute to the service personnel involved in the raid and said he was "very sorry" that it ended with the men's deaths. "Terrorism and appalling crimes such as these are a scourge on our world," said Cameron. "No-one should be in any doubt about our determination to fight and to defeat them."
The SBS team is said to have launched the raid at 10am British time, and the Italian government had reportedly not been notified when it began – which Italy's President, Giorgio Napolitano, has described as "inexplicable". Italian Senator Lucio Malan told BBC Newsnight
that the Italian government would want to know why it was not consulted before the raid was launched. "It is quite uncommon that a country that is involved is not informed before. Apparently it was a very difficult situation and it might have been the best decision but it is still to be explained why the Italian authorities haven't been informed," he said.This article first appeared on PublicServiceEurope.com's sister site defencemanagement.com: Nigeria hostages killed in raid