Tributes have been paid to a British construction worker apparently killed by terrorists in Nigeria. Brendan Vaughan was named by Foreign Secretary William Hague as the British national believed to have been murdered – along with six other foreigners – at the hands of captors.
Hague condemned the likely killing as ‘cold-blooded murder’ and said he would work with the Nigerian government to bring those behind the attack to account. No further details about Vaughan have been released but tributes have begun to be posted on Facebook by friends of the construction worker, who is originally from Leeds but now lives in Thailand.
One of Mr Vaughan’s friends – Peter Dixon – left a message on the site saying ‘Rip mate’. Mr Vaughan’s Thai girlfriend, Orasa Arpornkaew, wrote: ‘You’re always in my heart.’ Dom Cooney posted: ‘Can’t believe it. He was like an ox.’ Mr Vaughan’s page includes details of where he was working in Nigeria and photos of armed protection guards at his compound.
It appears he had left West Yorkshire and started a new life in Thailand with Arpornkaew Yesterday, Hague said in a statement: ‘This was an act of cold-blooded murder, which I condemn in the strongest terms. ‘My thoughts are with his family, and the families of the other hostages, who will be devastated by this tragic loss.
‘I offer them our deep condolences at this terrible time, and know that the thoughts of people up and down our country will be with them.’ He added: ‘Responsibility for this tragic outcome rests squarely with the terrorists. I am grateful to the Nigerian government for their unstinting help and co-operation. ‘We are utterly determined to work with them to hold the perpetrators of this heinous act to account, and to combat the terrorism which so blights the lives of people in northern Nigeria and in the wider region.’
Those kidnapped included three Lebanese citizens and one each from Britain, Greece, Italy and the Philippines – all employees of Setraco, a Lebanese construction company with an operation in Bauchi state, local officials said at the time. A message from Ansaru, the extremist group behind the February 16 kidnappings, said on Friday that the hostages were killed after British warplanes were reported to have been seen in the northern Nigerian city of Bauchi by local journalists.