Sun, Dec 15, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Militants kill hostages in Nigeria

AMBUSH:The four executed were among six people who were abducted while delivering humanitarian aid to Borno State in July; one aid worker is still being held

AFP, PARIS

Extremists have executed four Nigerian hostages held since July, French aid group Action Against Hunger said on Friday, adding that one of its staff and two drivers were among those killed.

The four were among six hostages abducted and held by the militants in northeastern Nigeria, the Paris-based aid group said.

“The armed group responsible for the kidnapping of humanitarian workers on July 18 have murdered four hostages,” Action Against Hunger said in a statement that did not identify the victims.

Another of the hostages was killed in September.

The aid group said that it was “extremely concerned and calls for the immediate release of its staff member, Grace, who remains in captivity.”

A decade-long Muslim militant insurgency has killed 35,000 people and displaced about 2 million from their homes in northeast Nigeria.

The violence has spread to neighboring Niger, Chad and Cameroon, prompting a regional military coalition to fight the insurgents.

The six hostages — an Action Against Hunger employee, two drivers and three Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health personnel — were kidnapped while delivering humanitarian aid to vulnerable people in Borno State.

Their driver was killed in an ambush by militants believed to be members of the Islamic State West Africa Province group.

The Islamic State West Africa Province is a splinter group of Boko Haram that swore allegiance in 2016 to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State group who died in October during a US raid.

It has repeatedly attacked military bases and previously targeted aid workers in northeast Nigeria.

“Action Against Hunger condemns these latest killings in the strongest terms and deeply regrets that its calls for the release of the hostages have not been acted upon,” the group said in its statement.

Shortly after the kidnapping, the Islamic State West Africa Province released a video purporting to show the one female aid worker and five male colleagues who had been seized in an attack in the region.

SITE Intelligence group, which monitors Muslim extremist online activity, cited Nigerian journalist Ahmad Saldika as saying that the latest killings were the “result of a breakdown of talks with the Nigerian government.”

Saldika had also previously obtained a video of the September hostage killing, SITE said.

On Thursday, Islamic State West Africa Province insurgents killed 14 militia and a police officer in northeast Nigeria, militia leaders told reporters on Friday.

The militia was comprised of local hunters and the state-funded Civilian Joint Task Force, an armed vigilante group.

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