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Six Filipinos dead in Algeria siege, four missing: government

Hostage-taking incident in Algeria gas plant leaves six Filipinos dead, with four “still unaccounted for”

In Ain Amenas, Algeria
Image Credit: AP
In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, Algerian soldiers secure the airport in Ain Amenas, Algeria, before the departure of freed hostages on January 19, 2013.
Gulf News

Manila: Six Filipinos were killed in gunfire or explosions during a siege by Islamic militants on a gas plant in Algeria, and four others are missing, the Philippine government said on Monday.

"The deaths of the six Filipinos were a direct result of the hostage-taking incident in the area and mostly by gunshot wounds and the effects of the explosions," foreign affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez told reporters.

Hernandez said four others were "still unaccounted for", while 16 Filipinos also caught up in the crisis were confirmed to be alive.

The Philippine government had previously said it did not know if any Filipinos had been killed during the 72-hour siege at the In Amenas gas plant, deep inside the Sahara desert, that ended on Saturday.

Algeria's Ennahar television reported that the bodies of 25 hostages were found on Sunday by security forces combing through the plant, and that five hostage-takers had been captured alive.

But Algeria warned other nations to prepare for a higher body count, as Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal prepared to hold a news conference later Monday.

Dozens of hostages appear to have died. Survivors' photos seen by AFP showed bodies riddled with bullets, some with their heads half blown away by the impact of the gunfire.

Thirty-two kidnappers were also killed in the standoff, and the army freed 685 Algerian workers and 107 foreigners, Algeria's interior ministry said.