Following reports of the killing of the seven abducted foreign hostages by Ansaru, a splinter group of Boko Haram, the United Kingdom, Italy and Greece governments have condemned the act in strong terms.
British foreign secretary William Hague, who expressed sadness over the unfortunate incident, stated that the action was an act of cold-blooded murder.
In a statement made available to LEADERSHIP last night, Hague said: "It is with deep sadness that I must confirm that a British construction worker, held hostage in Nigeria since February 16, 2013, is likely to have been killed at the hands of his captors, along with six other foreign nationals who we believe were also tragically murdered.
"This was an act of cold-blooded murder, which I condemn in the strongest terms".
He however urged the media to allow them time to come to terms with their loss in privacy.
Meanwhile, William Hague has expressed gratitude to the Nigerian government for its unstinting help and cooperation. He reiterated the British government's commitment to join hands with the Nigerian government to bring the perpetrators of the heinous act to account.
"We are utterly determined to combat the terrorism which so blights the lives of people in northern Nigeria and in the wider region," he said.
The Italian government has also condemned the killings. A statement from Italy's foreign ministry reads: "It's an atrocious act of terrorism against which the Italian government expresses its firmest condemnation, and which has no explanation, if not that of barbarous and blind violence."
Italy also flatly denied a claim by Ansaru that the hostages were killed before or during a military operation by Nigerian and British forces, saying there was "no military intervention aimed at freeing the hostages".
Italian premier Mario Monti identified the slain Italian hostage as Silvano Trevisan and promised the Rome government will use "every effort" to get the killers.
A statement from Greece's foreign ministry also confirmed one of its citizens was killed, while Lebanese authorities did not immediately comment. The Greece government said it had already informed the hostage's family, adding that the terrorists never communicated or formulated demands to release the hostages.
In an online statement on Saturday claiming the killings, Ansaru said it killed the hostages in part due to local Nigerian journalists' reporting on the arrival of British military aircraft to Bauchi where the abductions occurred.
However, the statement from Ansaru also cited local news articles that instead said the airplanes were spotted at the international airport in Abuja.
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Ansaru, in a statement on Saturday, blamed the killings on a pledge by President Goodluck Jonathan to do "everything possible" to free the hostages during his visit to Yobe and Maiduguri last week.
Presidency keeps mum
Again, the presidency yesterday kept mum on claims by the Ansaru, a faction of the Boko Haram sect, that it had killed the seven expatriates abducted last month from the SETRACO yard.
Effort to get the special adviser to the president on media and publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, and senior special assistant to the president on public affairs, Dr Doyin Okupe, via phone calls and text messages were fruitless, as they could not be reached.
Police investigates killing of kidnapped foreigners
Security operatives in Bauchi State have explained that they are still investigating the killing the seven expatriates kidnapped in Jama'are local government areas of the state as claimed by the Islamic group, Ansaru.
Last month, unknown gunmen abducted seven foreigners working under Setraco construction company. The Islamic group claimed responsibility for the kidnap of the seven expatriates that included five Lebanese, one Briton and one Italian.
Speaking to LEADERSHIP yesterday, the commissioner of police, Bauchi State command, Mohammed Ladan, said: "Police are not aware that the kidnapped expatriates were killed; we are still investigating the matter; we are also investigating the genuineness of the information pasted on the website allegedly by the group."
Reliable top security sources in Bauchi told newsmen separately that "we heard about the killings of the expatriates as you heard about it. We are still making enquiry to get the correct information, because we did not carry out any rescue operation either jointly or separately; we are still monitoring the situation".
Similarly, Nigerian students under the auspices of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) have also condemned the kidnapping of the foreigners in Bauchi, saying it was an act of terrorism.
Speaking to LEADERSHIP, the national president of the student body, Comrade Prince Miaphen, asserted that the attack on the construction workers would cause harm to the country, especially the northern part, since foreigners and international investors would be scared to come into Nigeria.
The student leader, who attributed the current security challenges confronting the country to unemployment, particularly in the embattled north, said serious measures should be taken to stop such obnoxious events for the nation to prosper.