News / Africa

    Algeria Says 80 Dead at Gas Complex

    Smoke rises above following demining operations at the In Amenas gas plant, January 20, 2013.
    Smoke rises above following demining operations at the In Amenas gas plant, January 20, 2013.
    Algeria's prime minister is expected to announce Monday the latest details of the militant takeover and military raid of a desert natural gas complex that left at least 80 people dead, including militants.

    The toll jumped Sunday when officials combing through the complex found 25 more bodies, which they said were so disfigured it is hard to tell if the remains were of militants or hostages.

    Officials in the Philippines said Monday that six of the victims were Filipinos, and that four of its nationals remain missing.

    Many of the dead were foreign hostages held when Islamist militants seized the In Amenas gas complex Wednesday.  So far, nationals from Britain, Romania, the United States, Japan and France have also been confirmed dead.

    Islamist militant leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar claimed responsibility for the attack. In an Internet video posted Sunday, he said he was acting in the name of al-Qaida and that 40 militants from Muslim and Western nations carried out the raid.

    Belmokhtar said the attack was an answer to the French military operation against other al-Qaida-linked militants in Mali.

    Algerian forces captured five militants alive during a Saturday raid on the complex.  Algeria's official news agency said the militants killed seven hostages during the raid, while Algerian troops killed 11 of the kidnappers.

    A number of militants and hostages were also killed earlier during the crisis, while other hostages escaped unharmed.

    British Prime Minister David Cameron said Sunday that responsibility for the killings "lies squarely" with what he called the "terrorists who launched this vicious and cowardly attack." French President Francois Hollande welcomed what he described as Algeria's "most appropriate" response to "coldly determined terrorists."

    Algerian Communications Minister Mohamed Said said the Islamist assailants came from six nations. He said Algerian experts are tying to clear away land mines the militants laid around the gas complex.

    Nearly 700 Algerian workers and more than 100 foreigners escaped the militant attack last week.

    The foreign hostages included Americans, Austrians, Belgians, Britons, Colombians, French, Japanese, Malaysians, Norwegians and Romanians. The complex is jointly run by Algerian, British and Norwegian firms.

    Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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    Comments
         
    by: musawi melake from: '
    January 21, 2013 6:40 AM
    The haste that was shown on the part of the Algerians demonstrate that the drama, in part was being orchestrated by the Algerians, who appeared reluctant to allow French air power over it's territory, but was coerced to accept. In the aftermath of the tragedy in the gas complex, it may not be surprising to hear opposition or even total denial of French flight over Algeria. Islamist resistance may be a thorn for the Algerians, but they may not want to fight some others', especially the colonial masters' war. That's why they had to stage manage the scene, by not allowing the countries involved to have a part. The frustration is reflected in British Cameron's wordings that the responsibility totally leis with the cowardly terrorists. Diplomatically, he said it's the Algerians who are responsible for the death of the foreign workers.

    by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
    January 20, 2013 7:09 PM
    Algeria has told so many stories, versions and casuality figures after the raid against terrorists at Amenas gas complex. When will they finish counting the dead bodies?

    by: ali baba from: new york
    January 20, 2013 4:46 PM
    the west has to deal with the fanatic more aggressively

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