The Algerian hostage situation has “effectively ended” — William Hague and David Cameron respond
By Peter Hoskin
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As we heard from Philip Hammond earlier, the hostage situation in Algeria now appears to be over. William Hague has since provided more detail, speaking to the BBC. Here, courtesy of PoliticsHome, is a transcript:
Five British nationals and one UK resident who are either deceased or unaccounted for: “The priority now is to work out exactly what has happened to every British national who might have been caught up in this terrible situation.
I indicated this afternoon that we thought there were fewer than 10 who were unaccounted for. And on the basis of all the information we have this evening, we believe that there are five British nationals and one UK resident who are either deceased or unaccounted for, in addition to the one fatality that we had already confirmed.
Obviously we’re working hard to get definitive information about each individual. We’re in touch with all of the families concerned, and we’re working closely with BP and with police forces across the country to give those families the support they need at this very difficult time.”
A lot to be learnt: “We’ve been in close touch with them today, and of course in proceeding days. They’ve certainly worked very hard to try to save the lives of people from other countries. I think it’s actually too early pass judgement on it. We are still in this phase of working with them, and with other countries, trying to get the information. So I don’t want, at this stage, to pass judgement on any details of the operation, some of which of course we don’t yet have.
They are a sovereign country. That is up to them. Of course it’s right for this country to offer our help. But as I say, I don’t want to, at this stage, enter into a criticism or judgement because there will be a lot to be learnt yet about this operation. Our focus is very much on getting British nationals who have survived this ordeal back to the UK and away from that area, and working out exactly what has happened to those who are deceased or unaccounted for.”
An aircraft is available: “We’ve sent aircraft to Algeria. An aircraft is available to bring home some of those nationals I’ve been talking about, getting away from the area. They should be coming home that way.”
And here is the statement that David Cameron made this evening:
“I spoke to the Algerian Prime Minister again this afternoon – and he confirmed that, while the site is still dangerous and there may be explosives that will need to be dealt with, the terrorist incident has now effectively ended. One British citizen has already been killed in this brutal attack and we now fear the worst for the lives of five others who are not yet accounted for.
I know that the whole country shares my sympathy and concern for everyone who has been caught up in this incident, and for their friends and families. It is our priority now to get people home as quickly as possible and to look after the survivors. Many are already home or on their way back.Let me be clear. There is no justification for taking innocent life in this way. Our determination is stronger than ever to work with allies right around the world to root out and defeat this terrorist scourge and those who encourage it.”