Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

ACROSS AFRICA

France finally grants Senegalese vets citizenship

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Pollution threatens island paradise of Mauritius, and one Cameroonian expat's quest to bring safe drinking water to his country

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Publicis boss encourages firms to move staff to Paris post-Brexit

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

'Fake news has had almost no impact on Wikipedia'

Read more

FOCUS

Iraq: Embedded with French special forces in Mosul

Read more

ENCORE!

Dominique Dalcan: Godfather of French 90s pop returns to his roots

Read more

YOU ARE HERE

Ringing the bells of northern France

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Trump Administration Starts with Big Lie Over Small Thing'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Samsung blames batteries for Galaxy Note 7 explosions

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)