Monday, June 4, 2012

German hostages killed in Nigerian security forces raid

KANO, NIGERIA - The death incident of foreign hostages detained by Islamic militant groups returned on Thursday (05/31/2012) following an attack carried out by Nigerian security forces to free himself from hostage takers in the town of Kano, the second incident in recent months after two hostages British and Italian were also killed in similar events.

Officials said a German kidnapped in Nigeria in January and allegedly detained by the Al-Qaeda North African branch (AQIM) were killed by his kidnappers on Thursday following a military attack to save him.

German victim Edgar Raupach was killed when Nigerian security forces raided early Thursday in the northern city of Kano, according to security sources and special military forces deployed in the city.

Residents reported hearing explosions and gunfire rocking the neighborhood of Danbare around 6:00 a.m., which lasted more than 30 minutes, and said the attack involved hundreds of soldiers along with trucks and armored vehicles.

Military forces said in a statement that the attack was ordered based on intelligence that "senior commanders of the Islamic militant element" were meeting.

"When we saw the appearance of security forces, elements of Islamic fighters opened fire and threw improvised explosive devices at security forces," he said.
"The security forces reacted immediately, resulting in a clash of weapons that lasted for around 30 minutes. During the shootout, five of the Islamic fighters were killed."

He added that security forces then searched the place and "found the body of a foreign worker who was later identified as a German citizen killed in a handcuffed state."

Other security sources said without mentioning the name that Raupach was shot and stabbed by his kidnappers. They also said the attack was carried out to save the hostages.

An AFP correspondent who visited the house on Thursday afternoon reported seeing bloodstained land and even human remains in one place.

The military said the search also found two AK-47 rifles, a large number of ammunition, and 36 hand grenades and IEDs.
The German foreign ministry spokesman could not confirm the death of the hostages, but said the embassy in Nigeria and a crisis team had been mobilized.

Engineers were kidnapped on the outskirts of Kano in January in the day after a series of bombings and shootings claimed by the Islamist group Boko Haram, which killed at least 185 people in the city.

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb said in March the group held the German hostage and wanted to swap him for a jailed Muslim woman, a private news agency in Mauritania said.

AQIM is not yet known to operate directly in Nigeria, although Boko Haram and other extremists in the country are believed to have links with the group.

At the end of March, the Nigerian government said they had arrested five people, including Mauritanians, who were believed to be linked to the North African Al Qaeda branch after the kidnapping of Germans.
Hostage deaths mark the second event in recent months in the most populous country and the largest oil producer in Africa.

In March, security forces faced criticism after a failed attempt to rescue an Italian hostage and a British citizen.

Their kidnappers killed hostages before Nigerian troops could save them in a joint operation with British security forces.

Nigerian officials have blamed the kidnapping of British and Italian citizens on the Boko Haram faction, which had never been known for kidnapping. A spokesman for Boko Haram denied any involvement.

Voa-Islam/The Truth Seeker Media

Related article: