Two European hostages held by kidnappers in Nigeria have been killed before they could be saved by a joint British-Nigerian rescue mission, according to British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Two kidnapped Europeans were killed before their would-be rescuers could save them in Nigeria, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced on Thursday. British citizen Chris McManus and Italian Franco Lamolinara had been "murdered by their captors before they could be rescued," Cameron told the press.
The two men had been working for an Italian construction firm when they were taken hostage by gunmen in the city of Birnin Kebbi in northern Nigeria on May 12, Cameron said. A German colleague had managed to escape by scaling a wall and a Nigerian engineer had been shot and killed during the attack last year.
"After months of not knowing where they were being held, we received credible information about their location," Cameron said in a televised statement from Downing Street.
"A window of opportunity arose to secure their release," he said, adding that there was reason to believe that the men's lives were "under imminent and growing danger."
Videos received by French news agency AFP had identified the kidnappers as al-Qaeda and threatened the lives of McManus and Lamolinara.
"Together with the Nigerian government, today I authorized it to go ahead, with UK support," Cameron said.
"It is with great regret that I have to say that both Chris and Franco have lost their lives," he announced.
The two men had been building a bank in the city of Birnin Kebbi.
sjt/ncy (AP, dpa, AFP)