Iain Hall's SANDPIT

Algerian forces who had ringed the Ain Amenas complex in a tense standoff had vowed not to negotiate with the kidnappers, who reportedly were seeking safe passage. Security experts said the end of the two-day standoff was in keeping with the North African country’s tough approach to terrorism.The kidnapping is one of the largest ever attempted by a militant group in North Africa.The militants phoned a Mauritanian news outlet to demand that France end its intervention in neighboring Mali to ensure the safety of the hostages in the isolated plant, located 1300 kilometres south of the capital of Algiers.Phone contacts with the militants were severed as government forces closed in, according to the Mauritanian agency, which often carries reports from al-Qaida-linked extremist groups in North Africa.

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The news coming out of Algeria is still rather uncertain but what is clear is that the rescue effort has resulted…

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