Saturday, 10 March 2012

Another African Adventure goes Awry!

Condolences to the families of Christopher McManus and Franco Lamolinara who while working in Nigeria found themselves embroiled in a nightmare beyond imagining. It is unfair and tragic when innocent civilians who are going about their daily business, end up getting murdered at the hands of kidnappers.

It is difficult enough in a developed country, for the authorities to conduct successfully, the rescue of a kidnapped victim. The logistical and operational demands that have to be met are numerous, timing has to be exact and the element of surprise is usually the only advantage the rescuers will have going for them.

Maybe with time, the reason why this rescue mission was attempted at all will be explained. In my view, the attempt at rescue was doomed to failure, especially in a country like Nigeria where in a lot of cases, nothing is ever what it seems, where tribal and ethnic loyalties can outweigh the other considerations of being a good citizen and where political allegiance has a price tag. Money and bribes (in this case at least) would have been a much better way to go.

If the rescue attempt had been successful, the people who made the decision to go ahead and those who took part in it would by now be taking credit for it's success. Because it failed, I fear it may just be filed away as just another african adventure gone awry.

The whole exercise at rescue I fear, was a gamble I would not have taken, if it was my family member that was at risk especially in Nigeria. Caution and money would usually do the trick in Nigeria, even in the northern states, there would be within the community where the hostages were held, even headed individuals who could have assisted the authorities without having to call in special forces from abroad.
Some amongst the security forces in Nigeria, would have seen the presence of British special forces as a lack of confidence in their own abilities and this could even prove counterproductive.

From reports, the element of surprise, seemed to have been lost and gunfire was exchanged for quite a considerable time, giving the kidnappers time to kill their hostages. Would it not have made better sense, if there had been a pro active method to solving kidnappings such as these, where the search for and rescue of victims were done by the local law enforcements with one or two overseas experts present as advisers/observers.

My thoughts go to the family of these victims. It is so easy to say "sorry for your loss", but I really am.


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