DFA verifying reports of Filipino hostages in Algeria-A A +A
Thursday, January 17, 2013
MANILA -- The Philippine Embassy in Tripoli is still verifying reports that Filipino nationals were among those being held hostage by an Islamist militant group at a gas field in Algeria.
Raul Hernandez, Foreign Affairs spokesman, said on Thursday that the Philippine Embassy in Tripoli has jurisdiction over Philippine affairs in the African country of Algeria.
There are no reports yet from even the international media if there are really Filipinos being held hostage in the Algerian gas field.
The Algerian government also hasn't given any confirmation of the nationalities of the people being held captive.
Only the American government has confirmed that their national was among the hostages.
Reports came out Wednesday that Islamists were holding hostage some 41 Westerners, including French, British, Japanese and Americans.
The gas field is jointly operated by British oil giant BP, Norway's Statoil and state-run Algerian energy firm Sonatrach.
A French and a British national were supposedly killed in the attack.
The kidnapping is apparently in retaliation for the military intervention of the French government against armed Islamists who seized control of the northern part of Mali in April last year.
The French government is conducting an intense crackdown on al-Qaeda linked terrorists group in the northern part of Mali.
They are currently on its fifth day of air strikes. The French government promised only to stop its intervention in Mali's fight against the rebels when the country is safe and stable already.
The northern part of the country, which is roughly the size of Texas, was seized last year by an Islamist alliance combining al-Qaeda's north African wing AQIM with Mali's home-grown MUJWA and Ansar Dine rebel groups.
Western and regional states fear the insurgents will use Mali's mountains and desert in the north as a base for international attacks.
The United States has yet to send their troops to Mali although Defense Secretary Leon Panetta already expressed his government's support to the French government. (CVB/Sunnex)