Skip to comments.Amenas Hostage Crisis: Oil Workers 'Killed' in Algeria Air Strikes
Posted on 01/17/2013 8:18:38 AM PST by thackney
Newswires reported lunchtime Thursday (UK time) that a spokesman claimed 34 hostages and 14 kidnappers have been killed in air strikes against the Amenas gas facility in southern Algeria.
Islamist militants attacked the facility early Wednesday morning, taking dozens of hostages. Statoil and BP, who operate a joint venture at Amenas, confirmed Wednesday and Thursday that they have several workers at the facility.
According to the AFP a spokesman for the kidnappers, speaking through a Mauritanian newswire, Algerian military aircraft attacked the facility in what appears to have been an attempt to free the hostages. The spokesman warned that the kidnappers would kill all remaining hostages if the Algerian army approached. This report has been unconfirmed, however.
BP issued a statement this afternoon in which it said it the UK and Algerian governments had confirmed to the company that the Algerian army is attempting to take control of the Amenas site. However, the firm stressed that the "situation remains unclear" and that it continues to seek updates from the authorities. It also pointed out that it was still lacking any confirmed or reliable information about casualties.
BP Group Chief Executive Bob Dudley commented in a statement that supporting families of oil workers is the company's priority.
Earlier Thursday, Algeria's APS news service said that 30 Algerian workers who were being held hostage at the facility had managed to escape, while there were other reports that 15 foreign workers had also managed to escape.
Thursday morning also saw Statoil CEO Helge Lund give a press conference at the company's headquarters in Stavanger, Norway, where he said that Statoil and BP are still faced with an "unresolved and very serious situation" a day after the attack and hostage taking at the Amenas gas facility.
Lund confirmed that there was still a hostage situation at the facility, which is a joint venture between Statoil, BP and Algerian state-owned energy firm Sonatrach.
"Since the initial report was received early yesterday, Statoil has taken the situation very seriously. All of our efforts are focused on bringing our employees home safe, as well as providing the support and assistance we can to their families and friends, colleagues and other employees in Statoil's organization. We have mobilized every available resource we have and need from the organisation. At the same time, we are cooperating both with Norwegian and international authorities, as well as other companies affected by the incident," he said.
Statoil added that no information had emerged during the night that would indicate any significant changes. 17 Statoil employees were at or near the gas facility when it was attacked by Islamist militants. The firm has since confirmed that five of these employees are safe, but that 12 Statoil employees still remain hostages.
"Both through the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other channels, we are communicating one clear message: the most important thing now is the consideration for the safety of our employees and other companies' employees still caught up in the hostage situation," added Lund.
Late Tuesday, BP announced it had activated its emergency response system and that it was engaged with Algerian authorities about the incident.
Also on Tuesday, an Al Qaeda militant Mr. Hamaha was reported as saying that 41 hostages were being held, including British, French, U.S. and Japanese nationals. The death of a UK national due to the attack has also been reported.The Amenas facility services a wet-gas field, which is operated in partnership with Sonatrach, BP and Statoil. The field is approximately 800 miles from Algiers and 38 miles west of the Libyan border.
This can’t be the work of Al Queda. Our fearless leader said they have been neutralized.
“Conflicting reports suggested that hostages and kidnappers may have been killed by Algerian soldiers when they attempted to leave the complex. Media reports said a Mauritanian news organization quoted a militant spokesman as saying gunfire from helicopters killed 35 foreigners and 15 kidnappers.......”
Thomas Jefferson said the only way to deal with people who want to kill you is kill them first, when he was referring to islam (or as islamicfacists, which they really are).