HOUSTON -- The family of a Houston area man taken hostage by Islamist militants at a gas plant where he’s working in Algeria tellsKFDM News they received a call from the State Department on Friday indicating he is “alive and well.”
There are reports from Algeria that some of the hostages and militants died when Algerian forces tried to free the hostages in a Thursday raid on the plant.
“We got a call from the State Department that he’s alive and well,” a family member of the hostage told KFDM News Friday morning. “They called about 7 a.m. Friday. A representative called me and his wife. He’s alive and well. He’s not on the list of those who are deceased. The family feels better but we won’t rest easy until he’s home.”
KFDM News isn’t releasing the man’s name because his family says the State Department representative told them that doing so could jeopardize his safety while he remains a hostage.
The family says while it waits for his return, it’s overwhelmed by the support and prayers from Southeast Texans.
“I can’t tell you how much we appreciate the support,” the family member told KFDM News. “Our church friends, everyone. It’s been astronomical.”
Algeria’s state news service says nearly 100 out of the 132 foreign hostages kidnapped by Islamist militants have been freed from a gas plant in the Sahara desert.
The report by APS indicated a potential breakthrough in a bloody siege that began when militants seized the plant early Wednesday and reflected a significant jump in the number of foreign hostages involved.
The Friday report from the government news agency, citing a security official, did not mention any casualties in the battles between Algerian forces and the militants. But earlier it had said that 18 militants had been killed.
It was not clear whether the remaining foreigners were still captive or had been killed in the Algerian military operation to free them that began Thursday.