Algeria troops 'in face-off' with militant hostage-takers

The kidnappers killed a Briton and an Algerian after attacking and occupying the complex at In Amenas on Wednesday.



The captives include British, Japanese, US, French and Norwegian nationals.

Algerian Interior Minister Daho Ould Kabila said the militants wanted to leave the country with the hostages, but he had refused to let them go.

"We reject all negotiations with the group, which is holding some 20 hostages from several nationalities," he told reporters late on Wednesday.

It seems [the militants] want to leave the country with the hostages - this is completely unacceptable for the Algerian authorities”
End Quote Daho Ould Kabila Algerian Interior Minister

Mr Kabila added that the kidnappers were Algerian and operating under orders from Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a senior commander of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) before late last year, when he set up his own armed group after apparently falling out with other leaders.

Meanwhile, alleged spokesmen for the militants claim they have kidnapped 41 foreigners. Dozens of Algerian workers are said to have been released.

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