A diplomatic is simmering between Britain and Italy over a failed hostage rescue attempt that ended the lives of Chris McManus and Franco Lamolinara in Nigeria.
Italian papers have referred to a ‘failed British blitz’ after a joint operation between Nigerian and UK forces was unsuccessful.
The main complaint is that British officials failed to tell their Italian counterparts before the rescue was attempted.
Former Italian prime minister Massimo d’Alema has criticised the operation.
Italy’s president Giorgio Napolitano has also voiced his displeasure at the events.
“The behaviour of the English government is inexplicable in not having informed and consulted Italy concerning an action of force which could have had the consequences that unfortunately it had. I believe that, in this regard, an explanation is needed, also from a political and diplomatic point of view,’‘ Napolitano said.
No official complaint has been made, and the British government says it had been in contact with Rome since the men were kidnapped last May.
Explaining the sequence of events, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said: “We were able to inform the Italian government as the operation got underway, but not to do more than that. But I think everybody understands the constraints involved, the rapid timing involved in a case like this.”
McManus and Lamolinara were working in the town of Birnin Kebbi in northern Nigeria when they were taken.
Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan claims the captors are being held by the police and will ‘feel the full wrath of the law’.