The 21st Century Phenomenon





A Briton, Chris McManus (L), and Franco Lamolinara (R), an Italian, abducted in Nigeria last year have died in a rescue bid by UK and Nigerian forces, Prime Minister David Cameron has announced on Thursday 03/08/2012.

David Cameron said it appeared Chris McManus – from north-west England – and Franco Lamolinara had been “murdered by their captors before they could be rescued”.

UK troops “were first in”, apparently, and shot a kidnapper but it was too late to save the men. Gunmen seized the two engineers in Birnin Kebbi city, North-West Nigeria on 05/12/2011.

A video was released to news media last year that appeared to show the men blindfolded with their arms behind them. Masked men were standing behind them in the footage. Mr Cameron said authorities had decided to go ahead with the rescue operation after receiving “credible information about [the men’s] location…a window of opportunity arose to secure their release. We also had reason to believe that their lives were under imminent and growing danger,” he said. The prime minister said it was “with great regret” that he had to announce that Mr McManus and Mr Lamolinara had lost their lives in the subsequent operation ( see also the 09/2009 case of Stephne Farrell).

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) later confirmed the men were killed in Sokoto, Sokoto State, to the North-East of the city they had been taken from and that the hostage-takers were associated with Boko Haram.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said that the men’s captors had been seized and “would be made to face the full wrath of the law”. He described them as being from Boko Haram, a militant Islamist group that has carried out a number of attacks on police, politicians and clerics who oppose it.

BBC security correspondent Gordon Corera said he understood the attack was most likely to have been the work of a splinter cell within Boko Haram, with possible links to Al Qaeda.

Nigeria’s northern borders are quite porous and any group could have been behind the attack. Anyway these are the first killings of their kind in the area.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti said said Franco Lamolinara was from the small northern town of Gattinara, in Piedmont, but was understood to have worked in West Africa for a number of years. He said Italy was only informed about the rescue mission after it had begun.

BBC Africa reporter Haruna Shehu Tangaza visited the house in Sokoto. He said four bodies had been removed from the building. He said the general view of people in the area was that the hostage takers were not members of Boko Haram or Al Qaeda but kidnappers wanting money.

Chris McManus, and Franco Lamolinara had been involved in the construction of the state headquarters for the Central Bank of Nigeria. They had been working for B Stabilini, an Italian construction firm based in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, when they were kidnapped.

Another Italian employee managed to escape during the kidnapping but a Nigerian neighbour who came to help was shot and wounded.



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