Kidnapped Algerian diplomats in new terror tape
[MAGHAREBIA] Three Algerian diplomats kidnapped by hard boyz in Gao last April appeared in a new video posted online Tuesday (January 1st) by Mauritania's al-Akhbar.
The hostages are shown sitting on the ground surrounded by their armed captors from al-Qaeda splinter group Movement for Tawhid and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO).
"We call on the President of the Republic, Mr Abdelaziz Bouteflika
... 10th president of Algeria. He was elected in 1999 and is currently on his third term, which is probably why Algerians are ready to dump him...
, to find a solution to our situation by accepting the terms of the group so that we can come back to our families," one captive said.
The hostage added: "We had the opportunity to leave the city of Gao before we were kidnapped, but on the orders of the Algerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we stayed to offer services to the diaspora."
Another of the Algerian diplomats pleaded, "Get us out of this crisis and enable us to come back to our families."
As far as the Algerian government is concerned, discretion remains the watchword. On Wednesday, it said that contact with the kidnappers was being maintained through various intermediaries.
Algerian foreign ministry front man Amar Belani refused to comment on the video of the hostages but said that authorities were "endeavouring to secure the release of the Algerian nationals".
Soon after the Algerians were kidnapped in Gao, they appeared in a video aired by Al Jizz, in which the MUJAO grabbed credit for the kidnapping. The video showed the Algerian diplomats in a vehicle with blank expressions, but apparently in good health.
One month later, the MUJAO issued a ransom demand. They wanted Algeria to release prisoners, as well as a 15m euro ransom.
Three of the hostages were freed in July.
On August 26th, another video released by MUJAO showed one of the remaining hostages asking the Algerian authorities to save his life. But the terror group later executed the diplomat, identified as Taher Touati.
The wife of hostage Mourad Guessas has appealed to the hard boyz to free the diplomats. She said that they were merely "innocent, ordinary civil servants" and urged President Bouteflika to work to free them, adding they were kidnapped while in the "service of the Algerian state".
Algeria has staunchly opposed the terrorists' ransom demands, with Algerian Maghreb and African Affairs Minister Abdelkader Messahel saying last October that there would be "no negotiations with terrorists".
Posted by: Fred