Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Search of Air Algerie crash site continues

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Sarkozy, Hollande and the scooter wars

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Confusion online over Air Algérie flight

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014

Read more

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

WWI Centenary: the battle for Verdun

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

When big companies want to do good

Read more

  • In pictures: Debris and devastation at Air Algérie Flight AH5017 crash scene

    Read more

  • Kerry heads to Paris for new round of Gaza peace talks

    Read more

  • ‘No survivors’ from Algerian plane crash, says Hollande

    Read more

  • Washington Post correspondent and his wife arrested in Iran

    Read more

  • Paris bans new Gaza protest scheduled for Saturday

    Read more

  • Tour de France fans bring the ambience to the Pyrenees

    Read more

  • French families grieve for Algerian plane crash victims

    Read more

  • Protest against Gaza offensive turns deadly in West Bank

    Read more

  • Halal tourism on the rise

    Read more

  • LA Times wipes France off the map in air crash infographic

    Read more

  • Lithuania’s Navardauskas wins 19th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • French lawyer files complaint against Israel at ICC

    Read more

  • Ukraine names acting PM after Yatseniuk's shock resignation

    Read more

  • BNP to pay $80 million for defrauding Dept of Agriculture

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Pope meets Christian woman sentenced to death in Sudan

    Read more

Africa

Algerian forces ‘bombed hostage jeep convoy'

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-01-18

The first details about the bloody and chaotic Algerian operation to reclaim a gas plant seized by Islamist militants, and in which several hostages were killed, began emerging from hostages on Friday.

Terrorised hostages who were freed or escaped from a seized gas plant in southeast Algeria have begun giving the first harrowing accounts of the apparently bloody and confused assault by Algerian security forces on the facility.

Foreign nationals from Ireland and Norway told family members by phone how they survived the ordeal, describing scenes that appear to show that Algerian forces may have acted rashly.

With no prior notice to the governments of the citizens involved, Algerian forces began the assault Thursday after the hostages asked for safe passage from the country with the hostages.

Stephen McFaul, an electrical engineer from west Belfast, told his family he narrowly escaped death, first when bound and gagged by the gunmen who fastened explosives around the hostages’ necks and then on Thursday when he was in a convoy of five vehicles driving across the complex.

“(The gunmen) were moving five jeeploads of hostages from one part of the compound,” his brother Brian McFaul told Reuters. “At that stage, they were intercepted by the Algerian army,” he said.

'Army bombed convoy'

“The army bombed four out of five of the trucks and four of them were destroyed ... He presumed everyone else in the other trucks was killed ... The truck my brother was in crashed and at that stage Stephen was able to make a break for freedom.”

McFaul said it was unclear whether the vehicles had been struck by missiles fired from helicopters or by ground forces.

His testimony appeared to confirm that of a French hostage inside the plant, who told FRANCE 24 by telephone on Wednesday night that the militants had strapped belts with explosives to the captives.

A 58-year-old Norwegian engineer who was rescued and taken to a nearby Algerian military camp told his wife how militants attacked a bus Wednesday before being fended off by a military escort.

“Bullets were flying over their heads as they hid on the floor of the bus,” his wife Vigdis Sletten told The Associated Press by telephone. Her husband and the other bus passengers climbed out of a window and were transported to a nearby military camp.

Despite these early accounts, none of the governments involved have as yet confirmed or commented on the hostages experiences.
 

Date created : 2013-01-18

  • FRANCE 24 EXCLUSIVE

    Hostages in Algeria ‘made to wear explosives’

    Read more

  • ALGERIA

    Algeria acknowledges foreigners killed in raid

    Read more

COMMENT(S)