Mali Islamists kidnap eight foreigners from BP natural gas field in Algeria

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Mali Islamists kidnap eight foreigners from BP natural gas field in Algeria
Wed, 01-16-2013 - 12:20pm

ALGIERS, Algeria — Islamist militants from Mali attacked a natural gas field partly operated by BP in southern Algeria early Wednesday, killing a security guard, according to local media, and kidnapping at least eight foreigners, an Algerian official said.

Seven others were wounded in the attack, including two foreigners, added the state news agency. Ireland has announced that one of the hostages is Irish.

Algerian forces caught up with and surrounded the kidnappers and negotiations for the release of the hostages are ongoing, the Algerian official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

A group called the Katibat Moulathamine, or the Masked Brigade, called a Mauritanian news outlet to say they had carried out the operation on the Ain Amenas gas field, taking six hostages — three Norwegians, a Briton and an American. The Algerian official said earlier the kidnapped included people of English, Japanese and Norwegian nationality.

The group’s claim could not be independently substantiated and it was not clear why the reports over the citizenship and the numbers of those kidnapped differed.

Continued on the National Post.