German Hostage in Nigeria Killed in Rescue Attempt; Italian Engineer Kidnapped

Posted May 31st, 2012 at 5:50 pm (UTC-5)
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A German man abducted in Nigeria in January allegedly by an al-Qaida-linked group was killed during a rescue attempt Thursday, while reports of a fresh kidnapping emerged in the country.

Nigerian officials said Edgar Fritz Raupach was killed by his captors as security forces tried to free him during a raid in the northern city of Kano.

VOA's Hausa Service said the raid was carried out by Nigeria's anti-terrorism Joint Task Force, which has been criticized for botched rescue attempts before. In March, kidnappers killed one British and one Italian hostage as the force tried to free them.

Raupach was abducted in Kano in January. In March, Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb group said it was holding Raupach and demanded the release of a Muslim woman jailed in Germany in exchange for his freedom.

Meanwhile, Nigerian and Italian authorities confirmed Thursday that unidentified gunmen kidnapped an Italian engineer working on a road project in Kwara state in central-west Nigeria. They said the engineer, working for the Italian Borini & Prono civil engineering firm, had been abducted on Monday.

In an unrelated development, authorities in Nigeria's most populous Lagos state said they had recalled all 788 doctors fired three weeks ago for going on strike over pay.

Lagos State Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola announced the decision Thursday. But the doctors and lawyers for the doctors said they had not been directly informed of the recall.

The strike crippled health care services in Lagos' hospitals and clinics, which quickly became overburdened. Residents piled pressure on the state government to rescind its decision.