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German Hostage Killed in Rescue Raid in Kano

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A German man held hostage in Kano by a group linked to al Qaeda has been killed during an attempt by Nigerian forces to rescue him, a witness and security sources told on Thursday. The man identified as Edgar Fritz Raupach was kidnapped

in Kano in January by a group claiming to be al Qaeda's North African wing. The group said in March it was holding him and demanded the release of a Muslim woman imprisoned in Germany in exchange for his release.

The military has refused to comment on the botched rescue mission by eye-witnesses told that all the kidnappers were also shot and killed during the operation. "I saw some corpse inside the military vehicle after the raid at Danbare Quarters close to the new site campus of Bayero University," a witness confirmed to, adding that: 'the military blocked all entrance to the area during the raid."

It is not the first time that hostages have been killed in rescue mission by Nigerian security operatives. A British and an Italian hostage were killed in Nigeria in March in another failed rescue attempt. They had appeared blindfolded in a video that said they were being held by al Qaeda. But the two men were later found in northwest Nigeria, and security sources said they had been held by a faction of the shadowy Islamic sect Boko Haram, which has been blamed for killing hundreds in northern Nigeria this year.

Kidnapping of foreigners has become a common tactic of al Qaeda's north African wing, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which operates out of Nigeria's neighbor Niger, as well as Mali, Algeria and Mauritania, and which officials believe has links with Nigerian militants. Boko Haram has increasingly moved into Kano, from its home base Maiduguri in the northeast and some of its members are known to have received weapons and training from al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, but security experts say the groups still have separate command structures.