A MAN from Northern Ireland kidnapped in Algeria by an Al Qa’eda gang has told his family: I’m ok. Don’t be worrying.
The 36-year-old was one of a number of oil-workers taken hostage in Algeria on Wednesday morning.
However, the father-0f-two, who the Belfast Daily has agreed not to name, was able to contact his family.
A source said: “He said he was doing well, and that the family were not to worry. He hoped things would be sorted out pretty soon.”
Such was the seriousness of the abductions, that Prime Minister David Cameron called a special meeting of COBRA to discuss the security situation with Cabinet colleagues.
International news reports say that Islamic militants are behind the abductions.
They were working on oil fields for petroleum giant BP.
A spokesperson from BP said: “We can confirm that there has been a security incident this morning at the In Amenas gas field in the eastern central region of Algeria.
“The In Amenas field is operated by a joint venture of which BP is a member. We have no more confirmed details at this time. We will provide further updates.”
“Algerian authorities are engaged with the incident; UK authorities have also been advised”, the spokesperson added.
Irish Government Minister Eamon Colllins called for the immediate release of the Northern Ireland who is travelling on a Republic of Ireland passport
“The Consular Assistance unit in the Department is providing consular assistance to the family and are in close contact with its international partners and a wide range of other contacts in order to establish the facts of the situation,” said Mr Collins.
“At this stage, the identity and motives of the kidnappers is unknown.
“The Government stands ready to use all the resources available to us to ensure that our citizen is released as soon as possible,” the Minister for Foreign Affairs added.
“I would ask that the family be allowed privacy at this difficult time.”
British workers are among at least eight foreigners abducted today by al-Qaeda militants at a BP oil field in Algeria.
The group attacked a natural gas field partly operated by the British oil company in southern Algeria early this morning, killing a security guard and kidnapping at least eight people, including English, Norwegian and Japanese nationals.
An Irishman is also among around 20 workers kidnapped by a group claiming to be al-Qaeda, the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs said today.
Algerian forces, however, caught up with and surrounded the kidnappers and negotiations for the release of the hostages are ongoing, an official said.
British workers are among at least eight foreigners abducted by al-Qaeda militants at a BP oil field like this one in Algeria, it was revealed today
The official said the attack happened at 2am and the militants came from Mali where Britain is helping France fight al-Qaeda guerillas.
He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.
The Algerian state news agency said a security guard was killed in the attack and seven others wounded, including two foreigners.
The British Foreign Office confirmed ‘a terrorist incident is ongoing’ near the facility in Ain Amenas, 60 miles from the Libyan border and 800 miles from the capital in Algeria’s vast desert south.
BP, whose headquarters are based in London (above) confirmed there had been a ‘security incident’ at their In Amenas gas field in east central Algeria
It said it was ‘seeking clarification from oil companies in the area as to whether they have personnel involved’.
It could not confirm if any British nationals were involved in the incident.
BP, together with Norwegian company Statoil and the Algerian state oil company, Sonatrach, operate the gas field. A Japanese company, JGC Corp, provides services for the facility as well.
Statoil, for its part, confirmed an attack had taken place, adding that it has 20 employees in the facility.
In a statement Wednesday, BP confirmed there had been a ‘security incident this morning’ at their Ain Amenas gas field in east central Algeria.
Al-Qaida’s North Africa branch has long been active in northern Algeria and occasionally in the desert south, but it has never before attacked the country’s many oil and gas facilities.
The abduction comes as French forces are preparing to attack Islamist militants in Algeria’s southern neighbour, Mali.