Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Algeria/Mali: hostages allowed to get supplies

The hostage takers have allowed their 14 captives to receive supplies for the first time ever.

For those of you who are not familiar with the story ... here's a brief synopsis.

Earlier this year, 32 Europeans were kidnapped while vacationing in the Sahara in southern Algeria. Seventeen were freed a few months later during a raid by Algerian special forces ... and one woman died of heatstroke some time ago. Of the remaining 14 hostages, nine are Germans, four Swiss and one Dutch. Four of the hostages are said to be seriously ill. The hostage takers are demanding up to $5.5m for each hostage.

The hostage takers are believed to be members of the Algerian group Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat.

There is also a story that the group kidnapped three Algerian customs officers in July and later killed them.

The reason I put "Algeria/Mali" in the header is because the hostages are believed to be in Mali territory right now. The hostage takers are also thought to have divided the group in half and taken them in different directions to evade detection.

For more on the story, go here and here.

Here is a post from yesterday about the Algerian interior minister claiming the fight against Islamist rebels is basically over.