The U.N. Security Council on Friday strongly condemned the “heinous” attack and hostage-taking at an Algerian gas complex by Al-Qaeda linked militants. A statement agreed by the 15-member council stressed the need to bring the Al-Qaeda linked attackers and their backers to justice.At least 12 hostages and 18 kidnappers were killed in an assault by Algerian security forces on the Sahara desert complex. Between seven and 10 hostages were still being held.
“The Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the terrorist attack in In Amenas, Algeria,” said the statement.The council expressed “deep sympathy and sincere condolences to the victims of these heinous acts and their families and to the people and governments of Algeria and those countries whose nationals have been affected.”It “underlined the need to bring perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism to justice.”In addition, it urged all countries “to cooperate actively with the Algerian authorities” in line with international law and Security Council resolutions.The statement also added a phrase that said countries must ensure that “measures taken to combat terrorism comply with all their obligations under international law, in particular international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law.”Several countries have urged Algeria to do everything to prevent harm to the remaining hostages at In Amenas.
Algerian media aired on Friday the first images of victims in the hostage crisis following a bloody standoff between Islamist militants and the Algerian army at a natural gas plant in the Sahara desert. Echourouk TV showed images of charred bodies of kidnappers and some foreign hostages.More than 20 foreigners were still either being held hostage or missing inside the gas plant after Algerian forces stormed the desert complex to free hundreds of captives taken by Islamist militants.The bloody three-day hostage standoff took a dramatic turn Friday as Algeria’s state news service reported that nearly 100 of the 132 foreign workers kidnapped by Islamic militants had been freed.That number of hostages at the remote desert facility was significantly higher than any previous report, but it still left questions about the fate of over 30 other foreign energy workers. It wasn’t clear how the government arrived at the latest tally of hostages, which was far higher than the 41 foreigners the militants had claimed previously.An Algerian security source said 30 hostages, including at least seven Westerners, had been killed during Thursday’s assault, along with at least 18 of their captors. Eight of the dead hostages were Algerian, with the nationalities of the rest of the dead still unclear, he said.