Monday, August 18, 2003

Algeria/Mali: European hostages FREED

UPDATE: The Hostages have been freed (for real this time!).

There are reports that the European hostages held in the Algeria/Mali Sahara might be freed today. Again, there has been no official confirmation of this ... but the German envoy in Mali has spoken positively about their imminent release.

Germany's ZDF television had mistakenly reported yesterday that the hostages had already been freed.
But rival public station ARD later reported that the liberation failed to take place. A military plane from Mali sent to pick up freed hostages in the northern town of Thessalit [Mali] returned empty Sunday to Gao, from where it started, ARD said.
This AFP report quotes a source close to the mediators as saying that the plane returned because they have not been able to group all the hostages together.

Speculation has been that the hostage takers had divided the hostages into two or more groups, and taken them in different directions, to evade detection.

Here is an earlier post on the situation.