Tuesday 23 January 2018

Freed hostage awaits family reunion

Stephen McFaul with his sons Dylan, left, and Jake
Stephen McFaul with his sons Dylan, left, and Jake

An Irishman held hostage in Algeria is expected to be reunited with his family.

Father-of-two Stephen McFaul, 36, from west Belfast, managed to flee from the al Qaida-linked kidnappers who stormed the BP gasfield complex at In Amenas.

A spokesman for his family said the electrician supervisor had been flown into London's Gatwick Airport on a specially chartered flight on Friday night.

However, meetings with UK Foreign Office officials and difficult weather conditions delayed the final leg of his journey.

He is expected to arrive in Belfast later.

Despite having explosives placed around his neck, Mr McFaul was able to escape when a vehicle he was in crashed after being attacked by the Algerian army, his brother Brian said.

He had been held for two days but made contact with his wife Angela at about 3pm on Thursday to say he was safe and well.

The oil worker's eldest son Dylan, 13, said he could not wait to give him a "big hug", adding: "I am very happy, I just cannot wait for him to come home."

The family spokesman described Mr McFaul's mood as bright and said he was nervously excited about returning home.

An exact time for his arrival has not yet been confirmed.

Press Association

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