Africa

Lebanon unable to confirm hostages executed in Nigeria

Foreign Minister Adnan MansourLebanon is still trying to confirm the fate of two Lebanese abducted in Nigeria, Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour told AFP Monday after a video posted online claimed to show bodies of some executed hostages.

“After seeing the video it appeared that the two Lebanese are not among the bodies which were shown” in the footage, Mansour said.

“Contacts are still underway between Lebanon and the Nigerian interior ministry to know the fate of the Lebanese” citizens Imad Andari and Carlos Abu Aziz.

The pair are among seven foreign hostages kidnapped on February 16 in Nigeria and whose alleged execution was claimed by the Islamist extremist group Ansaru.

A grainy and silent video posted on YouTube and seen Monday by AFP appears to show at least four victims next to a man standing with a rifle. Close-up shots of three bodies can also be seen.

The 91-second video is titled in Arabic “the death of the seven Christian hostages in Nigeria,” while an English statement announcing the executions is copied in below.

The two Lebanese were abducted along with two Syrians, a Greek, an Italian and a Briton, all of whom were employed by Lebanese-owned construction firm Setraco on a site in the northern Nigerian state of Bauchi.

Britain, Italy and Greece on Sunday said that the claim by Ansaru that it had killed the seven foreign hostages appeared to be true, but there has been no confirmation from Nigerian authorities.

Ansaru, considered an offshoot of the Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram, has been linked to several kidnappings, including the May 2011 abductions of a Briton and an Italian working for a construction firm near the border with Niger.

The victims were killed in March 2012 in neighbouring Sokoto state during a botched rescue operation.

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