Militant Hostage-Takers Besieged by Algerian Troops

January 17, 2013, Thursday // 12:30

Algerian troops have surrounded a gas facility in the east of the country where foreign workers are being held hostage by Islamist militants.

The militants staged a deadly attack on a natural gas field near the eastern Algerian desert town of In Amenas on Wednesday morning, reportedly killing two people. They are believed to be holding about 20 hostages, even though reports have claimed the group has taken more than 40 hostages.

The captives include British, Japanese, US, French and Norwegian nationals, according to BBC.

The hostage-takers reportedly demand the release of Islamists from Algerian prisons and an end to French military action in Mali

Algerian Interior Minister Daho Ould Kabila has told reporters that  the militants wanted to leave the country with the hostages, but he had refused to let them go.

Kabila has revealed that that the kidnappers were Algerian and operating under orders from Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a  former senior commander of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

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