Sunday 25 February 2018

Killing of hostage was ‘cold-blooded murder’, says William Hague

Sam Lister and Daniel Bentley

BRITISH Foreign Secretary William Hague has accused the terrorists who killed a UK national in the Algerian hostage crisis of "cold-blooded murder".

Mr Hague described the siege as a "dangerous and rapidly developing situation" and has despatched a specialist response team to Algeria to back up Britain's embassy staff.

He told the BBC: "This is an absolute tragedy, of course. In this dangerous and rapidly developing situation the next of kin have been informed.

"The Government's Cobra emergency system is in full operation. I have spoken to our ambassador in Algeria and despatched a rapid deployment team to Algeria to strengthen our embassy there and help them in their work.

"Excuses being used by terrorists and murderers who are involved - there is no excuse for such behaviour, whatever excuse they may claim.

"It is absolutely unacceptable, of course. It is, in this case, the cold-blooded murder of people going about their business. So there is no excuse, whether it be connected to Libya, Mali or anywhere else."

The Algerian government is in talks with the United States and France over the possibility of bringing in an international force to break the siege, unnamed security officials have claimed.

Algerian forces have surrounded the In Amenas gas facility close to the Libyan border and tribal elders with links to Islamist militants have been contacted in an attempt to help negotiate an end to the stand-off, according to unconfirmed reports

David Cameron, who chaired a ministerial Cobra meeting yesterday, spoke last night to his Algerian counterpart Abdelmalek Sellal.

The Prime Minister "expressed his sympathy and support" and the two leaders agreed to keep in touch as the situation progresses, Downing Street said.

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