21 January 2013 2:39 pm | | 2


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Rachid Neili, a Tunisian who was among those taken hostage by an armed group in the south of Algeria last week, was released and returned safely to his hometown in the south of Tunisia.

In an interview broadcast on national television channel Al Wataniya, Neili stated that he was released on Friday, January 18, after his two-day capitivity at an Algerian gas plant in In Amenas close to the Tunisian-Algerian borders. “We were all scared… When we left, the Algerian army took care of us right away and made sure we were safe,” he added.

According to the same source, Neili is a 30-year old engineer from the small town of Ksar Ouled Beb in the governorate of Tataouine. He survived a bloody rescue mission by the Algerian army in which 23 hostages and 32 armed “terrorists” were killed, according to the Algerian Ministry of the Interior.

In a press release issued by the presidency’s office of Tunisia on January 19 to announce Neili’s release, President Moncef Marzouki expressed solidarity with the Algerian government and praised its efforts in protecting its territory and borders with Tunisia. “We thank the Algerian authorities for making sure the Tunisian diaspora there is safe and protected,” read the statement.

According to Reuters, the attack on the gas field was undertaken by alleged Islamist militants, who belong to al-Qaeda. Algerian authorities opted for a military intervention to free the hostages rather than negotiations with the attackers. No further details were provided regarding the decisionmaking behind the rescue mission. The consequent high death toll has sparked critical international reactions, mainly from Japan, England, and the U.S.

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Comments (2)

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  1. elMisses says:

    Explain the use of quotation marks around the word terrorist in paragraph three. Is there doubt that the hostage takers were terrorists? Please explain what they were if not terrorists…

    • sberka says:

      The use of the term “terrorists” is a subjective term that -with other terms- is usually frown upon in journalistic text. Even though it is clear to the reader that these guys are indeed terrorists, a formal proof as well as a conviction in a court of law has not been proceeded yet.

      The New York Times and the BBC use the terms “kidnappers” and “militants”.

      Another reason is that the term has been used by Algerian authorities in press conferences, hence the quotation marks.

      But I understand, one gets used to Tunisian journalistic standards and forgets that there are professionals somewhere. For that tunisia-live does have some good editors editors….The content is average though.

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