Thursday, 31 May 2012

Failed rescue: German hostage killed in Kano

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ABDUCTORS of a German engineer on Thursday, in Kano, shot and killed the expatriate during a rescue mission spearheaded by men of the Joint Task Force on anti-terrorism.
The murdered German, Edgar Fritz Raupach, had been seized since January 26 along the Zaria Road, Kano, by gunmen suspected to be members of a terrorist group.
In March, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb had said it was holding the German and that it would exchange him for Filiz
Gelowicz, fundamentalist serving time in Germany.
Speaking alternately in German and English, Raupach in the video said, “I beg any government to save my life. My life is in your hands now, I beg you, or these people will kill me.”
The rescue team was said to have stormed the hideout of the kidnappers located in an area opposite the Bayero University, on Gwarzo Road, Kano around 6.30am but were resisted by the abductors who were said to be heavily armed.
The JTF in a statement confirmed that five others, including three of the gunmen, died in crossfire between security operatives and the suspected terrorists. Among the killed abductors was a woman.
However, residents of the area told our correspondent that the number of dead victims exceeded 20.
“My brother, the shooting was too much. Many people, over 20, were killed,” a resident who refused to give his name told our correspondent.
A civil servant, Ibrahim Mohammed, told Reuters on telephone that, “I saw some corpses inside the military vehicle after the raid at Danbare Quarters close to the new site campus of Bayero University.”
A security source who confided in our correspondent said, “When the gunmen realised that they were being overwhelmed by our men, they then fired several shots at their hostage and killed him.”
The JTF in its statement confirmed that its men raided the hideout of some “terrorists” senior commanders in Kano.
The military outfit said its operatives had engaged the gunmen for about 30 minutes.
The statement added, “Upon search of the premises by security forces, we found the handcuffed, gruesomely murdered corpse of an expatriate, later identified as the German national, Mr. Raupach.”
Residents told AFP that the military attacked the building where the German was kept in trucks and armoured vehicles.
An unidentified military officer also reportedly told AFP that the abductors used explosives during the encounter.
The Assistant Inspector-General of Police in charge of Zone One, Mr. Philemon Leha, said the police were not aware of the raid though he confirmed that he had heard about it.
“The operation was not carried out by my policemen, therefore the details are still sketchy. You are even ahead of me,” Leha told our correspondent.
Kano city has witnessed several cases of violence in recent past, mainly from the terrorist Islamic sect, Boko Haram. At least 25 people were killed on Easter Day this year at a Christian service on the campus of the Bayero University. Among the dead were two professors. A third Professor, a 70-year-old man jumped the fence to safety.
Raupach’s killing in a failed rescue bid is the second of such this year.
In March, a British and an Italian hostage were also killed during a similar failed rescue bid.
Earlier in the week also, an Italian engineer was kidnapped in Kwara State. Source: Punch Nigeria

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