Prime Minister David Cameron has confirmed that the hostage situation in Algeria is now over.
“Tragically, we now know that three British nationals have been killed, and a further three are believed to be dead, and also a further British resident is also believed to be dead. I know the whole country will want to join with me in sending our sympathy and our condolences to the families who’ve undergone an absolutely dreadful ordeal and now face life without these very precious loved ones. The priority now must be to get everybody home from Algeria.”
On Friday January 18, Prime Minister David Cameron updated Parliament on the ongoing hostage situation. He spoke to Parliament again on January 21.
Gas installation attacked
In the early hours of Wednesday 16 January, terrorists attacked a gas installation run by BP, the Norwegian company Statoil and the Algerian company Sonatrech, in In Amenas in South East Algeria.
The group is believed to have been operating under Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a criminal terrorist and smuggler, who has been operating in Mali and in the region for a number of years, and who was formerly affiliated with Al Qaeda in the Maghreb.
According to latest information, terrorists first attacked two buses en route to the Amenas airfield before attacking the residential compound and the gas facility at the installation.
The Prime Minister told Parliament that the assault ‘appears to have been large, well co-ordinated and heavily armed’.
Two of those travelling in the convoy to the airfield were killed, including one British national.
A number of other workers were taken hostage by terrorists in separate locations. Hostages included British nationals, along with nationals of at least seven other countries as well as Algerians.
On Thursday morning the Algerian forces mounted an operation which is now complete.
UK government response
The Prime Minister has been chairing meetings of COBR – the group which leads the government’s response in emergency situations – since Wednesday January 16.
On Friday David Cameron said that the UK will continue to support Algeria in their fight against terrorists:
“From the outset I have [been] clear about our implacable opposition to terrorism and said that we will stand with the Algerians in their fight against these terrorist forces.”
Read updated Algeria travel advice on the Foreign Office website. On Twitter? Follow @foreignoffice, @UKinAlgeria and @MartynRoper (the British Ambassador to Algeria).