BREAKING: Italy says British, Italian hostages killed by captors in Nigeria after failed attempt to free them by British forces (Telegraph on twitter)
In a video of two European engineers who were kidnapped in Nigeria, the hostages say their kidnappers are from Al Qaeda,
In May, two engineers, one British and one Italian, were kidnapped in Kebbi, a city in Northwestern Nigeria near the borders with Benin and Niger (map). Commentators speculated about the kidnappers – was it Boko Haram, the Muslim militant sect that operates primarily in the country’s Northeast? Was it Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which has kidnapped Westerners in Mauritania, Mali, Niger, and North Africa, but never before in Nigeria? Or was it a local criminal group? The latter was my own suspicion at the time, but for a time there was practically no information about the incident.That has changed. A newly released video links the kidnapping to Al Qaeda
UPDATE: Telegraph liveblog: British hostage killed in Nigeria:
All the latest developments after a British hostage Chris McManus was killed in a Special Forces operation to free him from al-Qaeda aligned kidnappers in Nigeria.Christopher McManusThis page will automatically update every 90 secondsOn Off
• British hostage Christopher McManus killed in Nigeria
• Italian hostage Franco Lamolinara also killed
• David Cameron: Pair died 'during an attempted rescue operation'
• Downing St: men's lives in 'imminent and growing danger'
• McManus family 'devastated by the news' of death
18.16 In a video received by a Mauritanian news agency and seen by the AFP news agency in December, masked gunmen threatened to execute the British hostage if their demands were not met.
The Mauritanian agency claimed that the captors belong to a Nigerian group inspired by Al-Qaeda. Mr Cameron has not specified the identify of the kidnappers. The Italian government also confirmed that the two hostages were dead.
Christopher McManus, the British hostage killed today in Nigeria. The photograph has been chosen by the family for use by the media. (Picture: FCO)
18.10 The Foreign Office has released a statement from Mr McManus' family.
Our son Chris was abducted in northern Nigeria on 12 May last year. As a family, we are of course devastated by the news of Chris’ death which we received earlier today. During this ordeal we have relied heavily on the support of our family and friends which has never waned and has enabled us to get through the most difficult of times.
We are also aware of the many people who were working to try and have Chris returned to our family, and his girlfriend. We would like to thank all of them for their efforts.
We knew Chris was in an extremely dangerous situation. However we knew that everything that could be done was being done. Our thoughts are also of course with the loved ones of Chris’ colleague, Franco Lamolinara, who are also coming to terms with this truly sad news.
We now need time to grieve and come to terms with our loss. We would therefore be grateful if you would respect our privacy at this most difficult of times.
18.09 Chris McManus is from the north west of England. In December last year, a Nigerian group calling itself "Al Qaida in the land beyond the Sahil" announced it had captured Mr McManus.
It released a hostage video to Nouakchott News Agency claiming it had kidnapped the Briton and showed a blindfolded and bearded man in an orange vest. Three men in dark clothing stood behind him armed with rifles and a machete.
It was reported that the man pictured in the video called for the British Government to respond to the demands of the group, so they would spare his life.
He also asked for the British people to pressure the Government to answer the demands of the group so he could return to his family.
18.06 The Foreign Office say the family will be issuing a statement shortly.
18.05 More details from Nick Squires in Rome on what the men were doing in Nigeria.
Mr Lamolinara had worked in Nigeria for around 11 years. He was an engineer from a large construction company called Stabilini Visinoni Limited. He was helping to build a bank in the town of Birnin Kebbi, the capital of the state of Kebbi, in the extreme north-west of Nigeria, close to the border with Nigeria. Mr McManus, also an engineer, was working for the same company, according to Italian reports.
Chris McManus who was killed with fellow hostage Italian Franco Lamolinara. (Picture: AFP/ GETTY IMAGES)
18.02 There have been a number of foreigners kidnapped while working in Nigeria in recent years.
In September 2008 two Britons were held by the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta. A Scottish oil worker was abducted and his guard killed in April 2009, in the Rivers State capital Port Harcourt.
Three Britons and a Colombian were kidnapped in January 2010 and in November of the same year, four men from the US, Canada and France were taken 7.5 miles offshore on the Okoro field.
In January last year two French hostages were kidnapped from Niamey, the capital of neighbouring Niger to Nigeria's north.
18.00 The Nigerian tragedy shows that hostage rescues are always a gamble, writes Con Coughlin, the Telegraph's executive foreign editor.
The failed rescue attempt by British special forces to rescue a Briton and Italian held captive in Nigeria is an illustration of the high stakes involved in mounting an operation of this kind. David Cameron clearly took a big gamble when he ordered the rescue attempt, and even though it failed he is to be congratulated for at least having the guts to give it the go-ahead.
17.59 Another picture of Mr McManus, shows him wearing a Manchester United football shirt.
17.57 The Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera has splashed its website with the headline that says "Raid in Nigeria, Italian hostage killed. The operation by British special forces ends in tragedy. British hostage also killed."
17.55 It is not immediately clear when the men were killed and Mr Cameron's statement did not specify whether the rescue attempt was underway when the murders took place.
17.53 Mr Cameron said he had authorised the failed rescue bid after receiving information on their location and that their lives were in imminent danger.
Chris McManus, a British citizen, was taken hostage by terrorists in Northern Nigeria in May 2011. He was taken hostage with his colleague, an Italian national, Franco Lamolinara.
Since then, we have been working closely with the Nigerian authorities to try to find Chris and Franco, and to secure their release.
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 authorised it to go ahead, with UK support.
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.
Our immediate thoughts must be with Chris and Franco's families, and we offer them our sincerest condolences. Both families have endured a terrible ordeal, and this is a devastating moment for all of them.
The Foreign Office have been in regular contact with the McManus family since Chris's capture. I spoke to them just before Christmas and I have spoken to them again with the news this afternoon.
I want to take this opportunity to thank the Nigerian authorities, and President Jonathan personally, for all they have done to help find Chris, and combat terrorism.
I also want to pay tribute to all those, including UK personnel, who worked so hard to try to bring Chris home safely. I am very sorry that this ended so tragically. I ask that the media respect the family's privacy and allow them time to come to terms with their loss.
Terrorism and appalling crimes such as these are a scourge on our world. No-one should be in any doubt about our determination to fight and to defeat them.
17.50 The Italian government statement is now available.
"From the moment of the kidnappings, the Italian authorities closely followed events with their British counterparts."
An "unexpected acceleration" of rescue efforts had got underway in the last few hours and the operation went ahead, carried out by Nigerian troops with British support.
"The prime minister, as well as the government, expresses its profound condolences for the tragic death of engineer Franco Lamolinara".
17.45 More from Nick Squires in Rome:
Mario Monti was told by David Cameron, according to Italian news reports, that the operation was carried out by Nigerian troops, with the operational support of British forces. The Italian PM was reportedly told that "the window of opportunity" to rescue the two hostages was narrowing rapidly and that there were fears that they could be killed by their captors. Mr Cameron expressed "profound condolences" for the death of the Italian hostage.
17.43 Mr Cameron confirmed the pair were killed during a rescue attempt in Nigeria. Mr McManus and Mr Lamolinara were captured in northern Nigeria in May. Mr Cameron said British authorities believed the men's lives were in "imminent and growing danger" and a rescue attempt was mounted by Nigerian authorities with British support. Mr Cameron said it appeared as if both hostages were killed by their captors before they could be rescued.
17.40 The death of the Italian hostage, Franco Lamolinara, was confirmed a short time ago by Mario Monti, the Italian prime minister, reports Nick Squires from Rome.
Reports say the PM was flying between Belgrade and Rome when he received a phone call from David Cameron. Mr Lamolinara was 47 and an engineer from Piedmont in Italy's north-west. Mr Monti has expressed condolences to the family.
17.35 The British and Italian hostages killed in special forces rescue bid in Nigeria, reports Matthew Holehouse.
David Cameron named the man Christopher McManus who was killed with fellow hostage Italian Franco Lamolinara. It is understood a Special Boat Service operation to free them from al-Qaeda aligned kidnappers failed. Prime Minister Mario Monti said was informed of the hostage conclusion by British PM Cameron in personal telehone call. It is understood between 16 and 20 SBS commandos were involved in the Nigerian-lead operation. All British forces are safe.
17.30 Good afternoon. Here is the latest developments after it was confirmed that British hostage Christopher McManus was killed in a Special Forces operation to free him from al-Qaeda aligned kidnappers in Nigeria.