At least 22 foreign hostages remained unaccounted for on Friday after Algerian forces stormed a desert gas complex to free hundreds of captives taken by Islamist gunmen.
A further 30 hostages, including several Westerners, were killed in the assault along with at least 11 of their captors, Reuters reports.
Western leaders whose compatriots were being held did little to disguise their irritation at being kept in the dark by Algeria before the raid – and over its bloody outcome. French, British and Japanese staff were among the dead.
An Irish engineer who survived said he saw four jeeps full of hostages blown up by Algerian troops whose commanders said they moved in about 30 hours after the siege began because the gunmen had demanded to be allowed to take their captives abroad.
Two Japanese, two Britons and a French national were among at least seven foreigners killed. Eight dead hostages were Algerian. The nationalities of the rest, as well as of perhaps dozens more who escaped, were unclear. Some 600 local Algerian workers, less well guarded, survived.
Fourteen Japanese were among those still unaccounted for by the early hours of Friday, while Norwegian state energy company Statoil, which runs the Tigantourine gas field with Britain’s BP and Algeria’s national oil company, said eight Norwegian employees were still missing, reports Reuters.
According to a preliminary information from the Algerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, there are no Armenian citizens among the foreign hostages, Press Service of the Armenian MFA informs.