A German man held hostage by a group claiming to be affiliated with al Qaeda has been killed in a failed rescue attempt, security sources say.
The German hostage has been named as Edgar Fritz Raupach, an engineer who was kidnapped four months ago in the northern city of Kano while working for a construction company.
Soldiers had launched an assault in the early hours of the morning on a hideout near Bayero University, according to regional police chief Philemon Ibrahim Leha. The victim was reported by security sources, including Leha, to have been killed by his captors as they discovered an operation was underway.
A spokeswoman for the German Foreign Ministry in Berlin could not confirm the report on Thursday afternoon. However, the German embassy in Nigeria said it was working with "utmost urgency" to establish details.
In March, a group affiliated to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) had told a Mauritanian news portal it was holding a German citizen captive who had been kidnapped in Nigeria in January.
The group demanded the release of a jailed female Islamist militant imprisoned in Germany in exchange for the kidnapped man.
Security forces in Nigeria subsequently detained five men believed to have links to AQIM over the kidnapping.
Nigerian authorities faced criticism in March over a failed bid to rescue an Italian and a British hostage. The hostages were reportedly killed before they could be rescued in a joint operation with British security forces.
rc/ncy/jm (AFP, dpa, Reuters)