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9 March 2012, 11:30
A hostage from Oldham was “murdered” by his captors in Nigeria on Thursday when an attempted rescue operation involving UK special forces ended in tragedy.
Chris McManus, who was working there as a building contractor, was killed alongside an Italian colleague as Nigerian troops and British commandos launched a failed rescue attempt in West Africa.
The UK national had been held by terrorists associated with Islamist extremist group Boko Haram since May last year after being kidnapped from his apartment by gunmen.
Prime Minister David Cameron said Mr McManus and co-worker Franco Lamolinara had been in “imminent and growing danger” and an opportunity had arisen to attempt to rescue them.
But he faced criticism after it emerged that Italian authorities were not told about the covert operation until it was happening.
Mr Cameron said: “The terrorists holding the two hostages made very clear threats to take their lives, including in a video that was posted on the internet.
“Preparations were made to mount an operation to attempt to rescue Chris and Franco. Together with the Nigerian government, I authorised it to go ahead, with UK support.”
A Nigerian official claimed the two died in a crossfire during the rescue attempt, but the UK said it was waiting for further details.
In a statement, the Oldham family of Mr McManus said they were “devastated by the news of Chris' death” but confident “everything that could be done was being done” during their 10-month ordeal.