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COVERLEGALNEWSPOLITICS & GOVERNMENT

Moro- Hostages may still be alive

The Minister of Interior, Mr. Abba Moro, has said that the alleged killing of seven kidnapped  foreign construction workers by a militant Islamic group, Jama’atu Ansarul Musilimina Fi Biladis Sudan, remains unconfirmed.

“As long as it (killing) remains unconfirmed, efforts will be made to ensure their rescue and security,”  Moro told the Hausa service of the British Broadcasting Corporation on Monday.

“I want us to also think that belief is quite different from confirmation. And maybe the affected countries believe that was what happened, but on its part, the country where it is said to have happened, based on what it sees, is doing the best it can in ensuring the men are freed, who it hopes are alive.”

But his  belief  and comments by his Information counterpart , Labaran Maku,  as well as   security agencies  showed that there was confusion  in  government circle over the fate of the kidnapped foreigners. Shortly before the Interior Minister spoke, JAMBS,  in order to prove its claim, posted  a video of what it said was the bodies of the foreigners ( a Briton, an Italian, a Greek and four Lebanese) on the Internet.

The video released by the al Qaeda-linked group and dated March 9 shows a gunman standing next to a pile of bodies, then close-ups of their faces lit up by a torch. It carries the Arabic title, “The killing of the seven Christian hostages in Nigeria” although the religion of the deceased  was not clear.

A caption underneath the video says in Arabic and in English: “In the name of Allah Most Beneficent Most Merciful.” JAMBS  had  also  said it killed the hostages in response to attempts by Britain and Nigeria to free them although   Italy and Greece said there had been no  such attempt this time around.

Contradicting  JAMBS claim, a senior  presidential aide  told the Guardian of London that no rescue raid was under way or in the pipeline with any other governments. “The (Nigerian) government had zero indication of where the hostages were being held. We would have mounted a raid if we had known,” the aide stated He added that the speed at which events had unfolded over the last few days “caught (the government) on the back foot.”

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