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‘Families of slain Briton, Italian paid £1m to Boko Haram’ – The Nation

The families of British construction worker Chris McManus and an Italian hostage had paid £1million to secure their release, it was claimed last night.
Reports in the Italian media claimed the money was a down payment on a £4million ransom demand by terrorists in Sokoto who executed Mr McManus and colleague Franco Lamolinara during a daring raid by the Special Boat Service.
There was no indication as to whether Mr McManus’s family had paid the money themselves.
There were also said to be high hopes his colleague Mr McManus, 28, from Oldham, Greater Manchester, would be freed, too.
According to Italian reports, members of Mr Lamolinara’s family were in Rome last Tuesday to view a video that had found its way into the hands of intelligence chiefs.
The tape showed the men, who were kidnapped at gunpoint from their Kebbi apartment last May.
Two days later, an unsuccessful mission by the SBS and Nigerian special forces resulted in both hostages being shot dead by their captors after a gun battle at the kidnap gang’s hideout.
Senior British Government sources said last night that there had been no ‘coherent’ ransom demand from the terrorists.
Turin-based La Stampa newspaper reported that negotiations had been taking place for the release of the Italian hostage through contacts in the west African state of Mauritania.
Another report last night said that Mauritanian businessman and politician Moustafa Ould Imam Chafi had been at the centre of the negotiations.
Italian news reports said an autopsy on Mr Lamolinara, whose body was flown back to Rome yesterday, found that he was shot in the head three or four times at close range.
British officials have insisted that Prime Minister David Cameron had no choice but to order the rescue bid on Thursday morning after intelligence reports revealed that Mr McManus and Mr Lamolinara were about to be moved, or possibly executed by their hard-line captors from the Al Qaeda-linked group Boko Haram.
But a friend of the dead Italian’s family, local politician Carlo Riva Vercoletti, told The Mail on Sunday: ‘Franco’s wife Anna was hopeful this would soon be over. They had maintained a dignified silence at the request of the Italian Foreign Ministry because they were told things were in hand.

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