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French hostage in Nigeria freed after a year

A French hostage has been freed almost a year after he was kidnapped in Nigeria, President Francois Hollande's office said in a statement today.

Francis Collomp was seized by around 30 gunmen who stormed his compound in December last year in the remote northern Nigerian town of Rimi, close to the Niger border where al-Qaeda's North African wing operates.

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Nigeria hostages 'killed in toilet' during rescue

The wife of one of the guards holding a Briton and an Italian hostage in Nigeria claims they were taken into a toilet and shot dead during a failed attempt to rescue them. Speaking to Reuters, the woman, who have her name as Hauwa, said:

There were about six men who came out of the house with the two hostages. They came into our wing of the compound, pushed the captives into the toilet and just shot them. I screamed.

Italian Foreign Minister expresses 'deep sorrow' over hostage deaths

Mr Terzi expressed deep sorrow and disappointment over the tragic outcome of the operation and both ministers agreed on the urgency of sharing full information to facilitate the reconstruction and understanding of these events.

Both Ministers conveyed their solidarity and sympathy for the families of Chris McManus and Franco Lamolinara. They reaffirmed that the UK and Italy will continue to work together closely in the fight against such horrific terrorism and hostage-taking.

– Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Hague: 'Only possible to inform Italy of mission once it was underway'

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague and Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata met earlier today at the informal Foreign Ministers meeting in Copenhagen. They discussed the recent hostage rescue operation in Nigeria following yesterday’s conversation between Prime Ministers Monti and Cameron.

Mr Hague made clear that there had been a limited opportunity to secure the release of the two hostages whose lives were in imminent and growing danger. Under these circumstances it was only possible to inform Italy once the operation was already getting underway."

– Foreign and Commonwealth Office

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Italian Foreign Minister demands 'utmost clarity' over failed rescue bid

Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi has demanded "utmost clarity" from his British counterpart William Hague over the circumstances in which Italian hostage Franco Lamolinara waskilled in Nigeria.

Terzi told reporters Mr Hague had to provide "utmost clarity as soon as possible, in the next few hours".

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