The president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, has sent separate letters of condolence to the David Cameron and Mario Monti, the prime ministers of Britain and Italy respectively.
The letters commiserated with Britain and Italy over the loss of their citizens abducted in Sokoto State Nigeria. The European, who were also engineers had been abducted by armed terrorists on May 12, 2011.
In the letters, Mr. Jonathan condemned the killings of Chris McManus, a Briton and Franco Lamorin, an Italian.
According to the president, “the hearts of the people and government of Nigeria go out to the members of the immediate families of the victims in their moment of grief… Almighty God imbues them with the fortitude to cope with this painful tragedy.”
In what seemed to be a move in diplomacy, President Jonathan included in the letters to the prime ministers, an assurance to combat terrorism. “The Nigerian Government remains resolutely committed to facing up squarely to the challenge of terrorism on our shores and in the international community.” Mr. Jonathan said
The British Prime minister had sent some of his operative to join their Nigeria counterparts for the March 8 rescue mission, a move that suggested the inability of Nigeria to exclusively provide security for its residents and check insurgency.
In the president’s letter to the two leaders, he expressed gratitude for their intervention in the breach of security case that led to the death of the engineers.
The president letters to the prime ministers of Britain and Italy described the intervention of Britain and Italy in the fight against terrorism in the country as valuable.
He said Nigeria was ready to join forces with foreign nations to combat terrorism. “As we join forces with the rest of the world in frontally confronting the menace of terrorism in all ramifications, the special relations and strong ties that exist among the three nations “can only grow deeper and stronger.” He said.
Mr. Jonathan had earlier blamed the attack on the Briton and Italian on the Boko haram sect. but the sect had vehemently denied being the perpetrators of the kidnap and the eventual death of the two Europeans. According to the Boko Haram’s spokesperson, Abul Qaqa, the sect had always admitted to its attacks, it although refuses to accept responsibility for the attack on the Europeans.
“We are not behind the hostage taking … which led to the military operation yesterday in Sokoto in which the hostages were killed,” Abul Qaqa said in a conference call with reporters.
Nigeria’s government “had better get its facts straight and find the true identity of the kidnappers,” Qaqa added.
The denial by the Boko Haram group has led to fears about the emergence of more terrorist groups in Nigeria. It has also led Nigerian to lose the even limited faith they had in the government to combat terrorism in Nigeria.