ROME (AFP) – The claim by a Nigerian Islamist group that it has killed seven foreign hostages seems “founded”, the Italian foreign ministry said on Sunday.
“The verifications carried out in coordination with the other interested countries lead us to believe that the news of the killing of the hostages is founded,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
Ansaru on Saturday claimed to have killed seven foreign hostages abducted from a construction site last month in the country’s restive north, SITE Intelligence Group said, but there was no immediate confirmation from Nigerian authorities or the countries the hostages were said to be from.
According to SITE, “Al-Qabidun ‘Ala al-Jamr (Grippers of Embers) Media Foundation, an affiliate of the Sinam al-Islam Network, issued the communique in Arabic and English on March 9, 2013, and also provided screen captures of a forthcoming video showing the dead hostages.”
“In the communique, the group stated that the attempts by the British and Nigerian governments to rescue the hostages, and their alleged arrest and killing of people, forced it to carry out the execution,” SITE said.