Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Inside Aleppo: 'Feels like prison'

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The Legacy of Shimon Peres, The Battle of Aleppo (Part 1)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Trump-Clinton Debate, Colombia Peace Deal, Death of the BlackBerry (Part 2)

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Backstage at Paris Fashion Week

Read more

FASHION

Paris Fashion Week: Saint Laurent, Lanvin, present new designers

Read more

#THE 51%

Online and proud: Iranian women use social media in a campaign for equality

Read more

#TECH 24

Say hello to Pepper!

Read more

REPORTERS

Video: The final days of Colombia’s FARC guerilla

Read more

REVISITED

Video: Abkhazia, the country that (almost) doesn't exist

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)