Some gas facility workers freed by kidnappers in Algeria

In Amenas 3

More hostages have been freed from the In Amenas gas facility in Algeria, where they were held by Islamist militants who stormed the plant Wednesday. The militants are reportedly followers of Mokhtar Belmokhtar, and their siege and the subsequent retaliation by Algerian military, has led to the death of more than 30 people from across the globe.

The militants attacked a bus of foreign nationals traveling between the plant and an airport Wednesday, and then stormed nearby worker living quarters. Hostages were taken both times, and amid the scuffle two men were killed.

On Thursday, a strike on the plant by Algerian military resulted in more dead, both hostages and kidnappers. Reports say the strike also provided opportunity for the escape of some hostages, including hostages that may not have been associated with the plant.

The number of hostages, kidnappers, and people killed has fluctuated wildly over the three days since events began. Conflicting reports from sources on the ground, as well as information coming from foreign reports, has led to inconsistencies across media outlets.

Some recent reports say the number of freed hostages now totals more than 650, with as many as 70 being foreign nationals associated with the plant. Other reports list much lower numbers. The number of dead now runs between just under 20 to just over 30, depending on the source. Numerous foreigners are still unaccounted for.

The In Amenas gas facility is 60 kilometers west of the Libyan border in the Sahara desert. The facility is run by Statoil, BP, and Algerian state company Sonatrach.

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