Entries in Hostage (5)


Algeria Hostage Crisis Over, More Hostages Reported Dead

Hemera/Thinkstock(ALGIERS, Algeria) -- After the Algerian military's final assault on terrorists holding hostages at a gas complex, the four-day hostage crisis is over, but apparently with additional loss of life among the foreign hostages.

The Japanese fear "very grave" news, and multiple casualties from among the 10 citizens working at the In Amenas gas plant are feared.

According to state media, 29 militants are dead. Many of the remaining hostages appear to have been freed safely, with some accounts saying 16 have been rescued.

Media reports also say that a total of 19 hostages have died during the Algerian military's assaults on the al Qaeda-linked terrorists who took over the BP joint venture facility on Wednesday.

One American, Fred Buttaccio of Texas, has been confirmed dead by the U.S. State Department.

But another American, Mark Cobb of Corpus Christi, Texas is now confirmed as safe.

In a statement Saturday, BP said that of 18 BP employees working at the plant in the Sahara, 14 are now safe, two with non-life-threatening injuries. The status of four employees, however, remains unknown. The facility is a joint venture with the Norwegian company Statoil and the Algerian national oil company.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Algerian Hostages: Dead US Hostage Identified as Fred Buttaccio

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The death toll at an Algerian gas plant where al Qaeda-linked terrorists took hostages continues to climb, with at least one American and 11 other hostages reported to have been killed.

The Algerian military has twice stormed the In Amenas natural gas facility but authorities say the situation is still not resolved, and on Saturday a number of Western workers, including Americans, apparently remained hostages.

The State Department has confirmed that 58-year-old Fred Buttaccio of suburban Houston was killed at some point during the attack and subsequent rescue efforts.

"We can confirm the death of U.S. citizen Frederick Buttaccio in the hostage situation in Algeria," said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. "We express our deepest condolences to his family and friends. Out of respect for the family's privacy, we have no further comment."

But another American, Mark Cobb of Corpus Christi, Texas is now confirmed as safe. Sources close to his family say Cobb, who is a senior manager of the BP facility, is safe and reportedly sent a text message " I'm alive."

The al-Qaeda linked group claims the attack on the facility in the middle of the Sahara desert had been planned for some two months.

In both assaults, the Algerian Army, using tanks and helicopters, found the terrorists were heavily armed and prepared to fight to the death.

One official described the aftermath as carnage.

Hostages who escaped or were freed said the terrorists only wanted Westerners or Americans, and were brutal in their treatment of some of them.

A Scottish worker named Ian said he had "never been so relieved as when they came and got us off site." Ian said he was "very, very relieved to be out. Obviously, we still don't know what's happening back on site. As much as we're glad to be out, our thoughts are with colleagues still there at the moment." Another worker, Stephen McFaul of Ireland, said he escaped as the terrorists tried to drive them to another location and the Algerian army opened fire on the convoy.

American officials had urged the Algerians to go slow, out of concern for the safety of the hostages, but that advice was ignored.

"They didn't let the terrorists dig in," said Richard Clarke, a former White House counterterror advisor and now an ABC News consultant. "They didn't negotiate. They moved quickly."

The attack has led the US and its allies to marshal resources to track down the alleged mastermind, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, who operates from a safe haven in the northern part of the country of Mali, a thousand miles away.

French military aircraft were already taking action against Belmokhtar even before the Algerian attack, according to ABC News correspondent Bazi Kanani, who is in Mali's capital, Bamako.

In southern Mali, according to Kanani, "there's limited information coming down from the north where journalists aren't allowed to go, but we do know one of the first targets of the French war planes that arrived one week ago was the headquarters of the leader of the terror group involved in the Algerian hostage crisis. "

U.S. officials say they won't send troops to Mali, but they are sharing intelligence with France, and by Monday, the U.S. Air Force will be helping to fly French troops and equipment here.

U.S. officials say they will work with the French and others to make sure Belmokhtar pays a price.

"Those who would wantonly attack our country and our people will have no place to hide," said Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


US Forces Involved with Failed Somalia Hostage Rescue

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama divulged on Sunday that the U.S. military played a role in a botched attempt by French commandos to free a hostage in Somalia last Friday.

In a letter to Congress released on Sunday evening, the president said service members “provided limited technical support” in the raid -- likely referring to intelligence or surveillance assistance -- although he denied the forces took direct action in the assault on the compound. 

The NATO member state was attempting to free a French intelligence agent that had been captured by Islamic militant group al-Shabab three years ago.

The hostage and at least once French soldier died in the ensuing firefight, which also killed a reported 17 militants, according to the French government.

Al-Shabab claims the French agent is still in their custody along with a soldier from the raid, but has offered no proof.

In his letter to Congress alerting them to his deployment of U.S. forces, Obama also wrote that U.S. aircraft “briefly entered Somali airspace to support the rescue operation, if needed,” but did not deploy weapons.  The letter does not state whether the aircraft were manned planes or drone vehicles.

The news came as France expands military operations in another African state, sending warplanes into northern Mali to bomb al Qaeda-linked rebels.

A Twitter posting from the office of Mali’s president states the United States has agreed to offer logistical support in that country, although American officials have not announced specifics.  The Pentagon has reportedly said it is still weighing options in the West African state, which already sees American surveillance drones in its airspace.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


German Woman Holds Man as Sex Hostage...Again

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- A German woman who made headlines last month when a man had to call the cops to help him escape her insatiable clutches has apparently struck again.

The Sun reports that the apparent nymphomaniac was on a bus returning from a sex addiction clinic in Munich when she met a man and invited him back to her place. Three days later, the man escaped -- after waiting for the woman to fall asleep, just as her previous "victim" had done -- and the 31-year-old man was found by police weeping on the street.

"It was hell," he told cops. "I can't walk. Please help me."

The woman was taken to a psychiatric hospital for evaluation. Unlike last time, however, she apparently didn't proposition the cops who came to address the situation.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Man Takes Daughter Hostage in Sydney Office Siege

Jupiterimages/ThinkstockUPDATE: After a near 12-hour standoff, police have arrested the man who entered a courthouse in Sydney's Parramatta suburb, claiming to have a bomb and holding his 12-year-old daughter hostage.  According to The Sydney Morning Herald, the girl was rescued by police unharmed, and the suspect is expected to appear in court on Wednesday.  His motives are currently being investigated.

(SYDNEY) -- A hostage standoff was triggered in a Sydney suburb on Tuesday when a man entered an office complex accompanied by his daughter, demanded to see a person he believed to work there and told the receptionist that he had a bomb in his backpack.

Police have surrounded the area in Parramatta and a number of ambulances and fire trucks remain on the scene.

Photos of the man peering out of the office window wearing the style of wig worn by lawyers in Australian court appeared on the Sydney Morning Herald.  The man reportedly smashed the window open with a bottle, yelled through the hole and then threw the bottle followed by a telephone handset.

The man reportedly arrived in the office and asked office clerk Betty Hor to see a person from the local court.  She said that the man was meant to appear in court on Monday, but was not able to find the person he intended to meet.

“I think he just snapped,” Hor told the Sydney Morning Herald.

The man who appears to be about 50-years-old was accompanied by a young girl, who reportedly looked about 10-years-old.  She was heard referring to him as “Dad” when he threw a book at the reception area.  He then took her to the front of the building and closed the door.

He reportedly was seen peering from the window, pointing at himself to give the “thumbs up” sign, and then to the lawyer’s wig and giving the “thumb down” sign.  Police on the scene have confirmed that he claims to have a bomb.

“He has made a number of demands and negotiators are working through those demands with him, I don’t believe … anything to do with custody.  At this stage she [the girl] is well, as well as she can be,” Assistant Police Commissioner Dennis Clifford said.

Police had moved people at least 100 yards from the office building, according to Robert Hoffman, who works in a nearby office building.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio