A Croatian hostage reportedly slain in Egypt was kidnapped by an unidentified group that demanded a ransom from his employer before turning him over to the Islamic State group, Croatia’s Foreign Minister said Thursday.
Speaking in the Croatian coastal town of Rijeka, Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic said the original captors requested money from the French geoscience company that employed 30-year-old Tomislav Salopek.
The company says it received a ransom demand eight days after Salopek was kidnapped on July 22, but it included no phone number and multiple emails to the address it came from went unreturned.
On Aug. 5, a video emerged showing Salopek as a hostage of the Islamic State branch in Egypt. At that point, his captors demanded not money but the release of unspecified Muslim women from Egyptian jails.
“The conclusion was that there is no specific request and that we were dealing with two different organizations,” Pusic said, “one that kidnapped him and the other that identified itself as the Islamic State.”
The IS radio station announced Thursday that its Egyptian affiliate had killed Salopek, the first word from the terrorist group a day after a gruesome image of his beheading circulated online.
Christophe Barnini, the chief spokesman for Salopek’s employer, CGG, said that “at no moment did we enter negotiations with the kidnappers about a ransom.”