Fate of two Malaysians unknown in Algerian crisis

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Roadblocks prevent the access of the Tigentourine gas plant where hostages have been kidnapped by islamic militants, Friday, Jan. 18, 2013. The hostage crisis in the remote desert of Algeria is not over, Britain said Friday, after an Algerian raid on the gas plant to wipe out Islamist militants and free their captives from at least 10 countries unleashed bloody chaos. AP Photo/Anis Belghoul

KUALA LUMPUR — The fate of two Malaysians believed to have been caught up in the ongoing hostage crisis at a gas complex in the Algerian desert remains unknown, the foreign ministry said Saturday.

It said that three other Malaysians who were working at the gas plant were safe. The embassy in Algeria “is still determining the fate” of the other two, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Al-Qaeda-linked gunmen stormed the gas plant in eastern Algeria on Wednesday. They have demanded an end to the French intervention in neighboring Mali, according to Mauritania’s ANI news agency.

The number of foreigners held at the plant is unclear.

The kidnappers have said they are still holding seven at the site deep in the Sahara desert near the border with Libya. An Algerian security official put their number at 10.

An Algerian security official said a dramatic military assault during the week to rescue those held had left dead 12 hostages and 18 kidnappers dead.

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