| Mali blowback + Algeria crisis: ‘Captors and hostages die in assault!’

Algeria crisis: ‘Captors and hostages die in assault’ ~ BBC.

Eleven hostage-takers have been killed as Algerian troops launched a final raid on a Sahara gas plant where foreign workers were being held captive, state news agency APS said.

Seven hostages were summarily killed by their captors as the troops tried to free them, the agency said.

The nationalities of the dead hostages are not known.

The militants had been involved in a stand-off since Thursday after trying to occupy the remote site.

APS has previously said 12 Algerian and foreign workers have been killed since rescue efforts began.

Checkpoint on road to gas facility - 19 January
The facility is at a remote site in southern Algeria

About 30 foreigners remain unaccounted for, including fewer than 10 from the UK.

The militants themselves said before the raid that they had been holding seven hostages.

Shortly before reports of the final assault emerged, the leader of the hostage-takers, Abdul Rahman al-Nigeri, said the government had to choose between negotiating with the kidnappers and leaving the hostages to die.

He said the area had been booby-trapped and swore to blow up the complex if the Algerian army used force.

The In Amenas gas field is situated at Tigantourine, about 40km (25 miles) south-west of the town of In Amenas and 1,300km (800 miles) south-east of Algiers.

The plant is jointly run by BP, Norway’s Statoil and Algeria’s state-owned oil company.

A statement from the kidnappers said the assault on the gas plant was launched in retaliation for French intervention against Islamist groups in neighbouring Mali.

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