(LAGOS, Nigeria) — A Briton and an Italian man, who were kidnapped by militants in Nigeria last year, were killed in a rescue attempt on Thursday.
British Prime Minister David Cameron and Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan confirmed the deaths in a rescue operation conducted by forces from both countries. The two leaders say the decision was made to rescue Christopher McManus, 28, and Franco Lamolinara, 47, because they believed the men were in imminent danger, reports BBC News. Italian authorities say they were unaware of the military action that left one of their citizens dead.
The men were working as engineers on a building project for the Central Bank in Birnin Kebbi, a city in northern Nigeria, when they were kidnapped in May by Boko Haram militants. Boko Haram has been responsible for several bombings in the country, with the worst one occurring on Christmas Day at multiple locations, resulting in dozens dead. The Islamic group, whose name means “Western education is a sin,” are said to have killed McManus and Lamolinara during the rescue attempt.
The captors were reportedly caught after a heavy gun battle.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Chandrika Narayan and Steve Almasy, CNN
Barbara Starr, CNN
Kareem Khadder, CNN