The dangers of being in expat in certain parts of the world became clear today with the taking hostage of an indeterminate number of expats and locals from a gas installation in Algeria. Gunmen believed to be Islamic terrorists took control of the natural gas compound at In Amenas in Eastern Algeria.
Algerian security forces are at the site with a military operation currently unfolding. There have been reports of airstrikes by the Algerian Air Force with expat casualties also apparent.
There are suggestions that the incident may be in retaliation to French military involvement in the conflict between the Mali government and rebels in the north of the country. The situation is being described by western governments as a terrorist attack but it is also thought that the hostages may have been taken in order to extract ransom.
Outgoing United States Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said, “It is a very serious matter when Americans are taken hostage along with others. I want to assure the American people that the United States will take all necessary and proper steps that are required to deal with this situation.”
A spokesman for United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron said, “The ongoing incident has involved several British nationals,” a spokesman for Mr Cameron said. “We are working with BP to support the families of staff that are involved.”