Report: Nigerian Islamists Claim to Kill 7 Hostages, Including 2 Lebaneseإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Nigerian Islamist group Ansaru on Saturday claimed to have killed seven foreign hostages – including two Lebanese men -- abducted from a construction site last month in the country's restive north, SITE Intelligence Group said.
There was however no confirmation from Nigerian authorities or the countries where the hostages were said to come from. An official from the Lebanese-Nigerian construction company, Setraco, told Agence France Presse he was aware of the report but could not confirm it.
According to SITE, "Al-Qabidun 'Ala al-Jamr (Grippers of Embers) Media Foundation, an affiliate of the Sinam al-Islam Network, issued the communique in Arabic and English on March 9, 2013, and also provided screen captures of a forthcoming video showing the dead hostages."
"In the communique, the group stated that the attempts by the British and Nigerian governments to rescue the hostages, and their alleged arrest and killing of people, forced it to carry out the execution," SITE said.
Police last month said the victims of the February 16 kidnapping in Bauchi state included four Lebanese, one Briton, a Greek citizen and an Italian. A company official later said the Middle Eastern hostages included two Lebanese and two Syrians.
Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour later identified the two Lebanese men as Imad al-Indari and Carlos Abu Aziz.
Back then, he said he gave his instructions to the Lebanese embassy there to coordinate with the local authorities over the release of the men.
On Saturday, Mansour told LBCI television: "We don't have any details or information about the killing of Lebanese citizens in Nigeria and we are continuing our contacts concerning this issue."
Later on Saturday, Lebanon's National News Agency reported that Mansour telephoned the Lebanese charge d'affaires in Abuja Wassim Ibrahim to inquire about the unconfirmed information.
“Ibrahim told him that nothing has been confirmed so far,” NNA added.
“Mansour asked Ibrahim to intensify his contacts with the relevant Nigerian authorities over the issue and to immediately provide him with any information he manages to obtain in this regard,” NNA said.
In an email statement sent to journalists announcing the claim, Ansaru said it has "the custody of seven persons, which include Lebanese and their European counterparts working with Setraco," the Lebanese-owned company targeted in the attack.
The two-paragraph statement in English cited "the transgressions and atrocities done to the religion of Allah ... by the European countries in many places such as Afghanistan and Mali".
Ansaru has been mentioned in connection with several kidnappings, including the May 2011 abductions of a Briton and an Italian working for a construction firm in Kebbi state, near the border with Niger.
It also claimed the December kidnapping of a French engineer in Katsina state, bordering Niger. The victim's whereabouts remain unknown.