News / Africa

    Algeria Hostage Crisis Ends With More Bloodshed

    An ambulance enters an hospital located near the gas plant where hostages were kidnapped by Islamic militants, in Ain Amenas, January 19, 2013.
    An ambulance enters an hospital located near the gas plant where hostages were kidnapped by Islamic militants, in Ain Amenas, January 19, 2013.
    VOA News
    Algeria's interior ministry says the nation's hostage crisis has ended with 23 hostages and 32 militants killed in the violence. On Satuday the ministry said Saturday security forces managed to free 107 foreign hostages and 685 Algerians.

    Algeria's official APS news agency said the country's special forces stormed a natural gas complex earlier Saturday in their "final assault" on Islamists who had been holding scores of hostages in the desert facility.

    France endorsed Algeria's handling of the situation Saturday, saying it was the "most appropriate" response since it was not possible to  negotiate with the "coldly determined terrorists."

    In Washington, President Barack Obama issued a written statement saying the thoughts and prayers of Americans are with the families of the victims. He condemned the actions of the kidnappers, saying they were entirely to blame.

    US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta speaks during a news conference with his British counterpart, Philip Hammond (L), Jan. 19, 2013.US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta speaks during a news conference with his British counterpart, Philip Hammond (L), Jan. 19, 2013.
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    US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta speaks during a news conference with his British counterpart, Philip Hammond (L), Jan. 19, 2013.
    US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta speaks during a news conference with his British counterpart, Philip Hammond (L), Jan. 19, 2013.
    ​British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond and U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta discussed the crisis at a news conference in London Saturday. Hammond said the terrorists bear the "sole responsibility" for the deaths.

    Several Americans were among those being held.  Panetta said he had only "sketchy information" about them and would not comment until he had better details. But he renounced terrorist attacks on Americans across the globe.

    "Just as we cannot accept terrorism attacks against our cities, we cannot accept attacks against our citizens and our interests abroad," he said. "Neither can we accept an al-Qaida safe haven anywhere in the world."

    U.S. officials confirmed late Friday that one American, Frederick Buttaccio, was killed during the siege.

    Foreign hostages at the natural gas complex in eastern Algeria are believed to have included nationals from the U.S., Britain, Japan, Norway, Romania, the Philippines, France, Malaysia and Austria. The gas complex is jointly run by Algerian, British and Norwegian firms.

    The militants say they attacked the facility Wednesday in retaliation for French military operations in Mali.

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    Comments
         
    by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
    January 19, 2013 7:32 PM
    Unquestionably a terrible tragedy for the families and friends of these innocent victims. Victims to hatefull criminal islamists terrorist; as usual they target civilians for their evil deeds. Decent people around the world, of all religions, need to condem this horrible crime. May these innocent victimes rest in peace eternally.
    In Response

    by: bruce from: canada
    January 20, 2013 4:31 PM
    Mr. Huang Your justification of terrorist acts is not welcome in Canada.
    In Response

    by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
    January 19, 2013 11:17 PM
    only look at the result without looking at the reason which makes you blind!
    Why dont you use your brain to figure out why they became terrorists? In this case, they kidnap hostages to retaliate French's attack. 911 was revenge of US's atrocities. Think again why there was no such terrorists before? it started since when? answer these questions then I will understand.

    by: Taro
    January 19, 2013 6:45 PM
    Is it good to force Western democracy on African people? When 'dictators' were there, it was safer and more stable than now. Is 'dictatorship' is so bad for Africa and Middle East countries as Western countries trumpet?
    In Response

    by: bruce from: canada
    January 20, 2013 4:37 PM
    Mr. Huang China is noteworthy for its human rights violations, but you are welcome to move there and leave Canada.
    In Response

    by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
    January 19, 2013 11:22 PM
    obviously, west doesnt really care about you are democratic or dictatorship. Why they support dictatorship Saudi arab? Why they are hostile to democratic Iran? shameful!
    BTW, so called "dictatorship" China is more stable and growing faster than so called "democratic" India.
    China style and communism is the only hope for developing countries.

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