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British Officials Examining Authenticity of Nigerian Hostage Video

A combination of two pictures grabbed from a video sent to AFP on August 3, 2011 shows two unidentified blindfolded men kidnapped in May in northern Nigeria

British authorities are checking the authenticity of a video claiming to show a British and Italian man kidnapped in May in Nigeria.

Britain's Foreign Office said Thursday officials are urgently examining the video, in which two men claim to have been kidnapped by al-Qaida.

The video was sent to news agency AFP's Ivory Coast office, but has not been made public.

Gunmen abducted the two men on May 12 in their apartment in the northwestern state of Kebbi. Both men were working as engineers for an Italian construction company.

British officials have confirmed that two men, including a British national, have been kidnapped, but have not released their names.

British officials say they are working to secure the hostages' release, and urged their captors to "show compassion and release them."

Scores of kidnappings have been carried out in Nigeria's oil-rich southern Niger Delta region but such attacks are relatively rare in the north.