Hostage: Abductors tied up foreigners

Jan. 22, 2013 at 12:25 AM
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ALGIERS, Algeria, Jan. 22 (UPI) -- An Algerian hostage who escaped from his Islamic militant captors at a gas plant in his country said some of the foreign captives had been kept tied up.

Speaking to the Mainichi Shimbun on telephone, Abdul Kader said the militants, who attacked the gas complex in In Amenas in southern Algeria last week and made dozens at the plant hostages, had tied up the hands and feet of about 20 of their foreign captives, including six Japanese nationals, preventing them from escaping. Explosive materials also were placed on the captive foreigners, he told the Japanese newspaper.

Mainichi quoted Kader, 45, who worked for a company that got contracts from British oil and gas giant BP and other firms, as saying he was in a BP dormitory when the militants attacked the complex early last Wednesday. The crisis ended last Saturday after Algerian military forces launched their subsequent operation.

He told the newspaper the captives were led into a dormitory hall on the ground floor as other militants brought in more hostages from other dorms. Kader said there were about 20 foreigners and about 300 Algerians in the hall with about 20 militants watching over the captives. He said he knew the six Japanese captives.

Kader said the hands and feet of the foreign workers were tied up with plastic ties and they were also tied to one another to prevent them from moving freely.

Kader said the Algerian captives, however, were not bound like the foreigners and were assembled in a separate area nearby, the report said.

Kader told Mainichi the captors gave the hostages bananas, apples, biscuits and juice.

He said he and some of the Algerians managed to escape and flee during the confusion when the Algerian military first launched an attack with helicopters, forcing the militants to fight back, the report said.

He said some Syrians and Turks also managed to escape with the Algerians, but the foreigners were not able to move.

Kader told the newspaper he did not know what happened to the foreigners subsequently.

The Japanese government Tuesday said seven of its 17 nationals, all working for an engineering company, had died in the crisis, while another seven survived. The other three were yet to be accounted for.

Separately, Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal said Monday those who died in the hostage takeover included 37 from eight countries, including three Americans. Another five, all foreigners, remained missing. Among the abductors, 29 reportedly died.

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