A British and Italian hostage have been killed after a botched rescue attempt to free the pair from kidnappers linked to Al Qaeda today.
A British citizen (Chris McManus, aged 28) and Italian citizen (Franco Lamolinara, aged48) have been killed in Sokoto, Sokoto State in northern Nigeria after an attempt by British and Nigerian special forces to free them. McManus and Lamolinara were kidnapped and have been held since May 2011. Initial press reports (and British Prime Minister David Cameron) say they were killed by their captors during the rescue attempt by British and Nigerian troops. However a senior security source in Nigeria has told the Associated Press that the two men died in the crossfire during the rescue operation, perhaps indicating that they might have been killed accidentally by gunfire from the troops sent to rescue them.
None of the British or Nigerian troops were killed but the captors suffered casualties.
Our immediate thoughts must be with Chris and Franco’s families, and we offer them our sincerest condolences. Both families have endured a terrible ordeal, and this is a devastating moment for all of them.
The Foreign Office have been in regular contact with the McManus family since Chris’s capture. I spoke to them just before Christmas and I have spoken to them again with the news this afternoon.
I want to take this opportunity to thank the Nigerian authorities, and President Jonathan personally, for all they have done to help find Chris, and combat terrorism.
I also want to pay tribute to all those, including UK personnel, who worked so hard to try to bring Chris home safely. I am very sorry that this ended so tragically. I ask that the media respect the family’s privacy and allow them time to come to terms with their loss.
Terrorism and appalling crimes such as these are a scourge on our world. No-one should be in any doubt about our determination to fight and to defeat them.”
This is probably the greatest or most famous hostage rescue in history. This is the story of the June 1976 Mossad rescue of Israeli hostages whose Air France plane was hijacked by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and taken to Idi Amin’s Uganda in 1976. The hostages were rescued from Entebbe after a spectacular Mossad operation during which Lt-Colonel Yonatan “Yoni” Netanyahu (older brother of Israel’s current Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu) was killed.
This is gripping viewing. Watch on…..