British hostage killed in Nigeria Brendan Vaughan was to be a grandfather

Construction worker's granddaughter is due to be born in May

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The British construction worker apparently killed by terrorists in Nigeria was denied the chance to meet his first grandchild, his family said.

Brendan Vaughan, 55, was due to become a grandfather with the birth in the family of a baby girl in May but the "loveable rogue" never had the chance.

The British national is believed to have been murdered - with six other foreigners - at the hands of captors on Sunday.

Foreign Secretary William 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.

The family of Mr Vaughan, who was from Rothwell, Leeds, said he was a man who "lived his life to the full".

In a statement released through the Foreign Office (FCO), they said: "The family of Brendan Vaughan aged 55 from Rothwell, Leeds are obviously shocked and saddened by recent events.

"Brendan, best described as a lovable rogue by everyone who knew him, lived his life to the full and on his own terms.

"He was a loved Father, Brother and Fianci who was tragically killed on March 10th 2013.

"He has been deprived of meeting his first grandchild, a baby girl to be born in May, Brendan may be gone but will be never forgotten.

"The family would like to thank friends and family for their support, kindness and condolences.

"We would also like to thank the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Police for their fantastic support since Brendan was abducted last month.

"We would ask the press and media to respect our wish to grieve in private at this very difficult time."

Tributes to the construction worker were posted on Facebook early this morning and overnight.

Mr Vaughan's Thai girlfriend, Orasa Arpornkaew, wrote: "Your always in my heart."

It appears he had left West Yorkshire and started a new life in Thailand with Ms Arpornkaew.

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.

In a statement, the group said: "As a result of this operation, the seven hostages were killed."

Commenting on the claim, the FCO said: "There are a number of deployments as parts of various engagements in Africa which will include the movement of assets."

Earlier yesterday, an Italian foreign ministry statement said all seven hostages had been killed in this latest case.

The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that "the information available points to the death of a Greek citizen" and his family had been notified.

The statement said the ministry believed no operation was mounted to free the hostages and the extremist group at no stage either communicated or expressed demands for the release of the hostages.

Ansaru said a video of the killings would be posted online. An online image accompanying the posting appeared to show a gunman standing over bodies.

They claimed a message from Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan which said the government would do anything in its power to free the hostages also sparked the decision to kill the hostages.

Ansaru previously issued a short statement in which it said its fighters kidnapped the foreigners on February 16 from a construction company's camp at Jama'are, a town about 125 miles (201km) north of Bauchi, the capital of Bauchi state.

The attack saw gunmen first assault a local prison and burn police trucks, authorities said.

Then the attackers blew up a back fence at the construction company's compound and took over, killing a guard in the process, witnesses and police said.

The gunmen appeared to be organised and knew who they wanted to target, leaving the Nigerian staff unharmed, while the foreigners were quickly abducted, a witness said.

In January 2012, Ansaru declared itself a splinter group independent from Boko Haram, the north's main terrorist group, analysts say.

Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is sacrilege", has launched a guerrilla campaign of bombings and shootings across Nigeria's predominantly Muslim north.

Boko Haram has been blamed for at least 792 killings last year alone, according to a recent estimate.

It is not the first time hostages have been killed in Nigeria.

British national Chris McManus and Italian co-worker Franco Lamolinara died in a failed rescue bid in March last year as Nigerian troops and UK Special Boat Service commandos tried to end their nine months in captivity.