Scots hostages 'safe and well'

Andover Advertiser: Scottish workers held hostage at the In Amenas gas installation in Algeria are believed to be 'safe and well' (AP) Scottish workers held hostage at the In Amenas gas installation in Algeria are believed to be 'safe and well' (AP)

A number of Scottish residents who were held hostage in the Algerian terror attack are now "safe and well", according to First Minister Alex Salmond.

He told parliament on Thursday that Scots workers were caught up in the crisis at the In Amenas facility in the Sahara.

On Friday, a statement issued from the First Minister said: "We are not confirming numbers or other details at this stage as the situation continues to be fluid and is not yet resolved.

"However, our police service in Scotland have confirmed that a number of people identified as resident in Scotland, who had been held captive in the In Amenas facility and of whom I spoke yesterday in parliament, have now been confirmed as safe and well."

Mr Salmond said: "The full extent of the Algerian hostage crisis is still not known but this is clearly a tragic situation and our thoughts at this difficult time are with the families of all those who have been caught up in events in Algeria.

"The Scottish police forces involved have all done an excellent job in difficult circumstances in identifying those individuals who live in Scotland and contacting their families. In each case, police officers continue to offer every support to the families at this worrying and uncertain time.

"We extend our sympathies to the families and friends of those innocent people affected from many countries by this disgraceful terrorist incident.

"We continue to work closely with the UK Government to monitor the situation and stand ready to offer any assistance we possibly can. Our thoughts remain with all of those who are affected by this tragedy."

The terrorist attack began on Wednesday morning when heavily armed militants launched a dawn raid, killing two people and injuring six others. The attackers, reportedly led by veteran jihadist Mokhtar Belmokhtar, threatened previously to "eliminate" the hostages if they were attacked.

Prime Minister David Cameron has said the number of British citizens at risk in the attack has now been "quite significantly reduced". It was reported last night that around 30 British citizens were believed to be "at risk".

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