BEIRUT: Two Lebanese were not in a video of executed hostages distributed by kidnappers in Nigeria, the Lebanese Embassy in Lagos said Monday.
“It was confirmed that Imad al-Andari and Carlos Abu Aziz, kidnapped in Nigeria, were not among the images distributed by the kidnappers of those who have been executed,” the embassy said in a dispatch to the Lebanese Foreign Ministry.
Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour contacted the hostages’ families to reassure them that there is no evidence their loved ones have been killed.
Mansour said contacts are ongoing between the Lebanese Embassy and Nigerian authorities as well as international bodies to determine the whereabouts of the hostages and secure their release.
The Lebanese hostages along with five other foreigners in Nigeria were feared dead Sunday night, following admissions from Britain, Italy and Greece that their citizens had likely been killed.
The Ansaru rebel group issued a statement Saturday announcing it had killed all seven foreign hostages taken during a raid on the housing compound of Lebanese-Nigerian construction firm Setraco in the northern Nigeria last month.
The group also reportedly released stills from what the group said is a forthcoming video showing an armed man standing over bodies, but the images could not be immediately authenticated and Nigerian authorities have cast doubt on Ansaru’s claim.
In an interview with the National News Agency, Mansour also said that the bodies in the video do not belong to the abducted Lebanese.
"The photos of the bodies which were publicized by the kidnappers in Nigeria do not belong to the kidnapped Lebanese Imad Indari and Carlos Abu Aziz after they were separated along with the kidnapped Syrian and his wife from the rest of the kidnapped [group] and taken to another area,” the minister told the NNA.
He added that the mission in Lagos is carrying on its contacts with Nigerian authorities to determine the location of the Lebanese nationals.