One British worker and a local security guard are dead, and 41 people are being held hostage by Islamic militants, at a BP complex in Algeria as retribution for a French attack on allied rebel groups in neighboring Mali.
“A terrorist group, heavily armed and using three vehicles, launched an attack this Wednesday at 5am against a Sonatrach base in Tigantourine, near Ain Amenas, about 100km from the Algerian and Libyan border,” said Algerian authorities. After failing to seize a bus carrying employees from the plant to the local airport, the group of militants attacked the complex’s living quarters instead and took numerous hostages.
Seven Americans are among the hostages. The hostage-takers, thought to be linked to al-Qaeda, threaten to detonate explosives and destroy the plant with all inside. Algerian security forces confirm that the rebels have indeed surrounded the BP plant with mines.
Also confirmed taken hostage are four Japanese, one French, one Irish, thirteen Norwegian, and hundreds of Algerian workers (although these workers were released in small groups).