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Briton Likely Killed By Captors In Nigeria - Foreign Minister

posted 10 Mar 2013, 11:07 by Sam Mbale

British Foreign Secretary William Hague describes the killing of a British construction worker and six other foreign workers in northern Nigeria as an act of 'pure cold-blooded murder'.

 LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (MARCH 10, 2013) (UK POOL) -  Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Sunday (March 10) it was "likely" a British hostage, Brendan Vaughan, had been killed along with the six other foreign nationals in northern Nigeria.

Al Qaeda-affiliated group Ansaru said on Saturday (March 9) it had killed the hostages seized on Feb. 7 in the northern state of Bauchi because of attempts by Nigerian and British forces to free them.

It published grainy photos purporting to show the bodies of a Briton, an Italian, a Greek and four Lebanese workers snatched from the Lebanese firm Setraco.

"This is an unforgivable act of pure cold-blooded murder for which there can be no excuse or justification," Hague told reporters.

Foreign governments had not been able to confirm the killings until Sunday.

Italy and Greece denied any attempt to rescue them had been made by any of the governments involved.

Nigeria had no confirmation of the killings.

Hague called the assistance Nigeria had offered the United Kingdom on the matter 'unstinting'.

Security has become a top concern for oil and infrastructure companies across the region after gunmen loyal to al Qaeda's north African franchise stormed an Algerian gas plant in January.

Up to 37 foreigners died during an attempted rescue mission by Algerian forces.

The risk posed by Islamists across west and north Africa has greatly increased since France sent troops to Mail to wrest control of its northern territory from al Qaeda linked rebels.

Western security officials say growing links between Nigerian Islamists and Saharan groups such as al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has led them to increasingly seek Western targets, rather than local security forces or civilians.