UK hostage threatened with execution

2011-12-07 09:05
Nouakchott - Masked gunmen threatened to execute a British hostage kidnapped in Nigeria if their demands are not met, in a video received by a Mauritanian news agency and seen by AFP.

The footage was sent on December 1 to Agence Nouakchott Informations (ANI), which claims that the captors belong to a Nigerian group inspired by al-Qaeda.

In the video, three masked men holding Kalashnikovs are shown with the British man, whose identity AFP has decided not to reveal.

One of the gunmen set London a two-week deadline to meet the group's conditions, without specifying what they are but added that they are known to the hostage's family and the British government.

The video also shows the hostage giving his name and age before he makes an appeal to the British government to negotiate with his captors to save his life.

The British man was kidnapped with an Italian man in May by gunmen who stormed their apartment in Birnin Kebbi, capital of Kebbi state, in northwest Nigeria near the border with Niger.

Uncertain when video was made

ANI routinely publishes purported statements from al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which is active in Mali, Niger, Algeria and Mauritania.

The agency revealed the content of the video on December 3, stressing it had authenticated it through some of its contacts in AQIM, who claim the captors belong to a Nigerian group inspired by al-Qaeda.

There is no indication when the two-minute video was made or where the hostage is being held.
Britain's Foreign Office declined to comment.

AFP received a first video showing the British hostage in August. That video also showed the Italian man, but the Italian does not appear in the latest video and he is not mentioned by the gunmen.

In the earlier video, both men say their kidnappers are from al-Qaeda.
The two hostages are believed to be engineers.

Operating from bases in northern Mali, AQIM have carried out attacks against troops and civilians and kidnappings, particularly of Westerners.

AQIM is also engaged in trafficking of various kinds, including of weapons and drugs.
- SAPA
Read more on:    al-qaeda  |  nigeria  |  west africa  |  security
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