Deadly Hostage Crisis In Algeria Ends
Posted by Robert Meyers on Jan 21, 2013 - 1:10:07 PM
January 19, a four-day standoff between militants occupying an Algerian
Natural Gas Complex came to a deadly close when Algerian Special Forces, aided
by air support from the Algerian Air Force, stormed the complex. Thirty-seven hostages and 11 Algerian workers
are confirmed dead, alongside 29 militants.
The crisis began when armed militants driving pick-up trucks assaulted a natural Gas Complex in Amenas, Nigeria. The militants then proceeded
to gather up Western workers at the complex and detained them together in a
group, booby-trapped the complex with explosive devices, and demanded the
release of prisoners being held by Algerian authorities.
The natural gas plant in Eastern Algeria is run by the state
oil company and cooperates with foreign firms such as British oil giant, Beyond
Petroleum (BP) and Norway’s Statoil. The
complex employed 790 people including 134 foreign workers.
According to statements released by Algerian Prime Minister
Abdul Malek Sallal, the militants were planning on blowing up the installation
and retreating to neighboring Mali with Hostages. The resulting explosion would have devastated
anything within a five kilometer radius, according to Sallal.
In reports released from APS, the state-run Algerian news
service, the attack involved militants from eight counties; Algeria, Tunisia,
Egypt, Mali, Niger, Canada, and Mauritania. Prime Minister Sallal has stated that the team of terrorists entered the
country from Northern Mali, where France has been engaged in military
operations against Islamist militants.
A still from the video statement released by Mokhtar Belmokhtar(pictured) (Credit: @alarabiya_eng/ Twitter)
commander, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, claimed responsibility in the name of Al-Qaeda
for the mass-hostage taking calling it a “blessed operation,” according to the
statement video released to Sahara Media, “We are ready to negotiate with the
West and the Algerian government provided they stop their bombing of Mali
“We had around 40
jihadists, most of them from Muslim countries and some even from the West,”
said Belmokhtar in the video statement.
In a statement
released by the French Defense ministry, there are no French hostages
unaccounted for, however, a man identified as Yann Desjeux died. Ten Japanese
workers remain unaccounted for, and one Colombian hostage is presumed dead
according to Colombia’s President.
Three workers from
Malaysia are in route home, while one is presumed dead and a fifth is
unaccounted for. Five Norwegian workers
remain unaccounted for and another eight are confirmed safe.
Six workers from the
Philippines are confirmed deceased and another four are missing, sixteen are
confirmed alive and accounted for. Four
Romanian Hostages were freed and one is deceased.
citizens were killed in the crisis; three other British nationals and a U.K.
resident are also believed to have lost their lives. Another 22 have returned safely home.
Seven U.S. citizens
survived the crisis, and three are confirmed dead. Their names are Victor Lynn
Lovelady, Gordon Lee Rowan, Frederick Buttaccio.