A British engineer held hostage in Nigeria by Islamic terrorists for almost a year was killed yesterday during a failed rescue mission by special forces.
Chris McManus, (pictured) a 28-year-old from Manchester, was executed by his captors as commandos from the Special Boat Service (SBS) and the Nigerian army carried out the emergency raid. Franco Lamolinara, an Italian colleague of Mr McManus, was also killed.
The SBS squadron killed at least two of the terrorists -- members of a jihadi group associated with al-Qa'ida -- during the daylight raid on a house in the northern city of Sokoto, British sources said. The Nigerian government last night said the two suspected killers of the hostages had been detained.
British Prime Minister David Cameron authorised the operation on Wednesday evening after being informed that the hostages -- whose secret location had only recently been discovered -- were about to be moved and executed. This followed demands from the kidnappers for the Nigerian government to release prisoners.
Intercepted mobile phone calls suggested that a move was imminent and the SBS squadron -- which had been in Nigeria for up to two weeks -- was forced to launch an emergency rescue attempt in broad daylight, rather than carry out a more planned mission.
"Their demands kept changing," said a British intelligence source last night. "They wanted the release of prisoners by the Nigerian government but could not work out which prisoners these were and this kept changing. We had intercepted telephone calls that suggested the hostages were about to be moved and killed."
In a statement, the McManus family said: "As a family, we are of course devastated by the news of Chris's death which we received earlier today. During this ordeal we have relied heavily on the support of our family and friends which has enabled us to get through the most difficult of times." (© Daily Telegraph, London)