Hostages: Nigeria sends condolences

2012-03-10 19:28

Abuja - Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has sent his condolences to the British and Italian premiers over the deaths of two kidnapped workers during a failed operation to free them, his office said on Saturday.

The two men, one British, one Italian, were killed on Thursday during a failed British-Nigerian military operation to rescue them at a house in Nigeria's far-northwestern city of Sokoto after nearly a year in captivity.

"In two separate letters of condolence to David Cameron and Mario Monti... President Jonathan said that the hearts of the people and government of Nigeria go out to the members of the immediate families of the victims in their moment of grief," the presidency said.

It said Jonathan also assured the two prime ministers of Nigeria's commitment to fight "terrorism".

Italian engineer Francesco Molinara, 48, and his British colleague Chris McManus, 28, were believed to have been shot by their captors before they could be rescued in the assault authorised by British Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday.

The incident has sparked a row between the two European countries, with Italy accusing Britain of not informing it ahead of the botched operation.

Nigerian security agents said they were holding eight suspects over the incident, blamed on Boko Haram, although the radical Islamist sect has denied any involvement.