Canadian with militant group in Algerian hostage taking: report

Jan 18, 2013 | News

Compiled by Shumu Haque
Victims being held captive at the In Amenas plant, released, and rejoining loved ones. Courtesy Al Arabiyah English Twitter.

Victims celebrate their release from In Amenas plant. Courtesy Al Arabiyah English Twitter.

One of the Islamic militants responsible for the hostage taking in Algeria’s In Amenas plant may be a Canadian citizen, CBC News has reported.

“We are aware of reports that a Canadian may have been involved in the hostage-taking in Algeria,” Department of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Chrystiane Roy told CBC news.

The Canadian government is pursuing, “all appropriate channels” to seek further information and is in close contact with Algerian authorities, Roy told CBC News.

CBC News also cited Algeria’s state-run news agency the Algerian Press Service (APS), who issued a report Friday saying 100 of the 132 foreign workers held hostage at the plant had been freed.

This number is higher than the previous report released by APS, which stated only half of the 132 foreign workers had been released.

Although the status of 32 foreign workers from the facility still remains unclear, the release of the other 100 workers could indicate a potential breakthrough since the hostage situation started on Wednesday, reports CBC News.

In the meantime, daily British newspaper the Telegraph, referred to a report by AFP that claimed at least one British citizen is among the seven hostages still being held in the In Amenas plant.

The others, according to the Telegraph’s report, include two Americans, three Belgians, and one Japanese. The Guardian, another daily British newspaper, has reported the United States saying it will not seek a deal with the hostage-takers.

The Guardian quoted America’s state department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland as saying, “The United States does not negotiate with terrorists.”

APS reported earlier Friday that 12 hostages, including Algerians and foreign workers, have died since Wednesday. Citing an unnamed source, the agency also reported that 18 hostage-takers have been killed.

British Prime Minister David Cameron told his parliament earlier Friday considering it is an ongoing operation, he can’t say more about the details of the rescue operation at this stage, however, the safety of the British nationals involved remained the priority of the British government.

“This is a large and complex site and they are still pursuing terrorists and possibly some of the hostages,” said Cameron.