Details are still sketchy, and we remind people not to jump to conclusions, but it has been reported that a rescue mission mounted by the British SBS has failed to safely recover British Engineer Christopher McManus and Italian citizen, Franco Lamolinara being held captive in Nigeria. Both men were being held by the forces of Boko Haram, a jihadist organization not unlike the Taliban. The hostages are reported as having been killed at the hands of their captors before they could be rescued. While the press is reporting the incident as a joint-mission conducted with the Nigerian military, this is highly unlikely. Hostage rescue operations require extremely tight Operational Security in order to maintain the element of surprise, critical for mission success in these cases. The Nigerian forces would never have been trusted with this information, especially with Boko Haram eyes and ears all over the country.
We will continue to monitor this story for additional details. At the moment it seems that the British are smoothing over a diplomatic incident with the Italians. Apparently, the Italian government was not informed until the operation was already underway.
From The Telegraph:
A diplomatic row has broken out over the deaths of two hostages after the Italian president claimed that the British government had not told Rome of the rescue operation.
Branding the situation “inexplicable”, Giorgio Napolitano said that he Italian government was not informed or consulted about the botched mission to rescue Briton Chris McManus and Italian Franco Lamolinara. He called for a political and diplomatic explanation from the UK.
Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, hit back, saying: “It isn’t inexplicable. It’s completely explicable what happened.”
He said that the Italian government was “informed” but didn’t specifically “approve” the rescue mission adding that the mission was launched after specific intelligence that the hostages were to be moved and killed.
Read the rest here.