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Algeria: Killing Field

  • January 20th, 2013
  • Posted by EUEditor

algeria-troops-19113-euronews.jpgAlgerian troops made a final assault on Saturday to end the hostage crisis at the Amenas gas plant, at Tiguentourine in the remote Sahara – with heavy loss of life.

CASUALTY FIGURES

The official news agency in Algeria reports that soldiers attacked when a hold-out group of extreme Islamist terrorists started murdering the last hostages they still held captive.

It says the seven hostages were killed, and 11 insurgents, in the final shoot-out.

It gives the total numbers killed as 32 of the terrorists and 23 hostages, including foreign workers from the gas facility.

Reuters news agency quotes Algerian Interior Ministry figures saying 107 foreign hostages and 685 Algerian hostages had survived.

After the shooting troops went on to begin removing mines and bombs that had been rigged up around the plant, amid threats to blow it up.

REACTIONS

Several foreign governments with their own nationals at Tiguentourine have been scrambling to find out details of the casualties, and news of additional persons who may be missing.

Government leaders, particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States, have been demanding better information; worried by reports that the terrorist group were targeting foreigners; also frustrated by lack of consultation by the Algerian authorities, and tight controls they’d imposed on news from the remote post.

The British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, back in London after cutting off a visit for inter-government talks in Australia, said on Saturday five British citizens and a permanent resident of the UK remained unaccounted for.

The French President, Francois Hollande, stated that the Algerian military action looked to be appropriate under the circumstances.

He said: “ We don’t yet have all the information in, but when there is hostage taking with so may people involved in the situation, and terrorists so coldly determined, ready to kill their hostages – which they have done- a state such as Algeria will make a response which  would appear to be, to my eyes, the most appropriate, given that it was not possible to get negotioations.”

He was speaking at Correze in his home region, at an event to farewell troops going to join the French military intervention in  Mali.

The terrorists who seized the BP company’s  industrial plant on Wednesday, affiliates of the al-Qa’ida movement, were demanding the withdrawal of French forces from Mali, which boders on  Algeria.

See also, EUAustralia Online, “Algeria-Mali: Bloodshed And Fright In Attack On Desert Outpost …”, (19.1.13).

Reference

BBC News, London, “Algeria hostages: Five Britons dead or unaccounted for”, 19.1.13.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21105352, (20.1.13).

Le Monde, Paris, “Prise d’otages : ‘L’Algérie a eu les réponses les plus adaptées’, juge Hollande”, (Algeria’s actions were appropriate, says Hollande), 19.1.13.
http://www.lemonde.fr/afrique/article/2013/01/19/l-algerie-a-eu-les-reponses-adaptees-juge-hollande_1819615_3212.html, (19.1.13).

Lamine Chikhi and Abdelaziz Boumzar, “Algerian army stages “final assault” on gas plant”, Reuters, London, 19.1.13.
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/19/us-sahara-crisis-idUSBRE90F1JJ20130119, (20.1.13).

Reuters, London, “Algerian official news agency says hostage operation over”, 19.1.13. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/17/sahara-crisis-conclusion-idUSL6N0AMGOH20130117, (20.1.13).

 Picture  euronews

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