AN ATTEMPT by elite Nigerian and British forces to rescue hostages held by local kidnappers in Nigeria went awry earlier on Thursday, resulting in the death of two hostages who have been held captive since May last year.
International wire sources are reporting that the Italian prime minister was informed of the deaths by his British counterpart, David Cameron, in a personal phone call.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said in a statement released on Thursday that "The terrorists holding the two hostages made very clear threats to take their lives, including in a video that was posted on the internet.
"After months of not knowing where they were being held, we received credible information about their location.
"A window of opportunity arose to secure their release.
"We also had reason to believe that their lives were under imminent and growing danger.
"Preparations were made to mount an operation to attempt to rescue Chris and Franco. Together with the Nigerian Government, today I authorized it to go ahead, with UK support.
The victims’ names were given as Chris McManus, a British national, and Franco Lamolinara, an Italian.
"It is with great regret that I have to say that both Chris and Franco have lost their lives.
"We are still awaiting confirmation of the details, but the early indications are clear that both men were murdered by their captors, before they could be rescued."