Probe into footage of 'al-Qa'ida hostages'
British authorities said yesterday they were investigating a video claiming an al-Qa'ida group held a British and an Italian man kidnapped from northern Nigeria in May.
The one-minute video, distributed by the French news agency AFP, shows the two men kneeling in front of three masked men holding a heavy machine gun and two Kalashnikov rifles. The two hostages, both blindfolded, ask authorities to comply with their kidnappers' demands.
AFP blurred the faces of the two hostages, though one could be seen wearing a Manchester United soccer jersey.
The British foreign office said yesterday it remained in close contact with Nigerian and Italian authorities.
"We are working to secure the hostages' safe and swift release," it said.
"We ask those holding the two men to show compassion and release them."
The statement said "intense diplomatic efforts" were under way to free the two men.
Italy's foreign ministry identified the kidnapped Italian as Franco Lamolinara.