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article imageNigeria: Silent video posted online appears to show dead hostages

By Eileen Kersey     Mar 11, 2013 in Politics
A silent video posted online appears to show the bodies of hostages kidnapped in Nigeria on February 16. Islamist militant group Ansaru claimed to have killed all seven hostages, at the weekend, as special forces launched a rescue mission.
Saturday the British foreign office was urgently investigating claims that radical Islamist group, Ansaru, who had held seven hostages since their kidnap in February, had killed the hostages.
Monday the [url=ht t=_blank]BBC reports "The silent video shows a gunman standing next to a pile of bodies. It also carries captions attributed to militant group Ansaru". Although Ansaru earlier claimed they had killed the seven hostages Nigerian Interior Minister Aba Moro told BBC Hausa there was no confirmation the hostages were dead. Until there is efforts to rescue the hostages and ensure their safety continue.
On February 16 gunmen attacked the Lebanese-owned firm Setraco, in Nigeria. One security guard was reportedly killed in the attack. Initially the suspects were hard-line Islamist militant group, Boko Haram, which is known to operate in Nigeria. Boko Haram launched many attacks, resulting in deaths, during the last year and are blamed for killing at least 729 people, in 2012 alone.
Within a couple of days Ansaru, an Islamist militant group with links to al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the kidnapping. The group issued a statement which read, "By Allah's grace (we) have the custody of seven persons, which include Lebanese and their European counterparts working with Setraco." The statement continued by saying the kidnapping was, "based on the transgression and atrocities done to the religion of Allah by the European countries in many places such as Afghanistan and Mali."
The British foreign secretary, William Hague, stayed silent and there was no confirmation if a Briton was one of the hostages, as claimed. News has been scarce until Saturday, when Ansaru used the Internet to post claims that all seven hostages died as a rescue mission was launched. For the first time the British news reporter said "seven hostages, including one Briton".
"The group, Ansar al-Muslimeen (widely known as Ansaru), released video stills of some of the bodies and blamed the deaths on a joint Nigerian-British military operation intended to free the hostages. Neither of those governments confirmed the purported operation", reported CNN.
A brief foreign office statement in the UK read, "We are aware of reports of the death of a British national in Nigeria and are urgently investigating. We urge the media not to speculate at this extremely sensitive time."
The foreign secretary later said British construction worker Brendan Vaughn is "likely to have been killed" by his captors. He called the murder of Mr Vaughn and the other six hostages "an act of pure cold-blooded murder".
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