According to The Associated Press, Italy's foreign ministry said earlier today that the execution of seven foreign hostages kidnapped in northern Nigeria [Bauchi] on February 16, by the terrorist group, Ansaru, is the worst such attack on the foreign community in decades.
The governments of Greece, Lebanon and the UK have also either publicly or privately expressed their protest against the unwarranted execution of seven foreigners made up of four Lebanese and one national each from Great Britain, Greece and Italy.
COMMENT: In its statement on Saturday (March 9), Ansaru blamed the killings on a pledge by Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan to do "everything possible" to free the hostages.
While Nigerian authorities have yet to comment publicly about Ansaru's claim, it comes as the nation's security forces remain unable to stop political violence from various groups across the country's north.
In January 2013, Ansaru declared itself a splinter group independent from Boko Haram, the north's main Islamic terrorist group. Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is sacrilege," has engaged in bombings, kidnappings and facility attacks throughout the country's Muslim north.
Boko Haram is blamed for at least 792 killings in 2012 alone. An online video also purportedly claims that Boko Haram is currently holding hostage a family of seven French tourists who were abducted from neighboring Cameroon in late February.
This report will be updated as new information becomes available.