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Hague slams 'cold-blooded murder'
Foreign Secretary William Hague said he is determined to track down the terrorists behind the apparent killing of a British hostage.
Construction worker Brendan Vaughan was named by Mr Hague as the British national believed to have been murdered -along with six other foreigners - at the hands of captors.
He condemned the likely killing as "cold-blooded murder" and said he would work with the Nigerian Government to bring those behind the attack to account.
Mr Hague said in a statement: "This was an act of cold-blooded murder, which I condemn in the strongest terms. My thoughts are with his family, and the families of the other hostages, who will be devastated by this tragic loss. I offer them our deep condolences at this terrible time, and know that the thoughts of people up and down our country will be with them."
He added: "Responsibility for this tragic outcome rests squarely with the terrorists. I am grateful to the Nigerian Government for their unstinting help and co-operation. We are utterly determined to work with them to hold the perpetrators of this heinous act to account, and to combat the terrorism which so blights the lives of people in Northern Nigeria and in the wider region."
Those kidnapped included three Lebanese citizens and one each from Britain, Greece, Italy and the Philippines - all employees of Setraco, a Lebanese construction company with an operation in Bauchi state, local officials said at the time.
A message from Ansaru, the extremist group behind the February 16 kidnappings, said on Friday that the hostages were killed after British warplanes were reported to have been seen in the northern Nigerian city of Bauchi by local journalists. In a statement, the group said: "As a result of this operation, the seven hostages were killed."
Commenting on the claim, the Foreign Office said: "There are a number of deployments as parts of various engagements in Africa which will include the movement of assets."
Earlier, an Italian foreign ministry statement said all seven hostages had been killed in this latest case.
The statement said: "It is an atrocious act of terrorism, against which the Italian Government expresses the most firm condemnation, for which it can find no explanation, except barbarous and blind violence."