Newswires were reporting Monday that at least 85 people had died as a result of the hostage crisis at the In Amenas gas plant in southeastern Algeria, which began on Jan.16 when Islamist militants attacked the facility. The reports indicated that at least 32 of those killed in the operation to recover the In Amenas facility, which ended Saturday, were Islamist attackers.
On Sunday morning UK Prime Minister David Cameron confirmed that three UK citizens had died as a result of the hostage crisis. Since then, BP confirmed Sunday evening that four of its employees were still missing while two out of the 14 of its staff who are now safe and secure sustained non-life threatening injuries.
However, despite reports naming BP workers as among the victims in the UK press, BP said that it would not disclose the names of any of its personnel who were unaccounted.
The press reports named Paul Morgan, a former soldier who was in charge of security at the In Amenas site, Kenneth Whiteside, from Glenrothes, Scotland, and Garry Barlow, from Liverpool, England, as having died in the hostage crisis. A Colombian BP employee, Carlos Estrada, was also named as a victim in the reports.
BP also confirmed that it has completed its plans to bring non-essential staff out of Algeria from Salah, Hassi Messaoud and other locations where it had workers in the country.
Statoil, meanwhile, has issued the names of five of its Norwegian employees who are still missing. They are: Tore Bech, a 58-year old from Bergen; Hans M. Bjone, a 55-year old from Brandbu; Victor Sneberg, a 56-year old from Sandnes; Thomas Snekkevik, a 35-year old from Austrheim/Bergen; and Alf Vik, a 43-year old from Grimsted.
In a statement Sunday evening (Norway time), Statoil CEO Helge Lund said:
"We stand together at this difficult time and are now thinking of the families’ deep uncertainty and despair. We ask that everyone show them consideration in this difficult situation. We will do what we can to support them,”
Statoil also announced Monday morning that all flags at the company's facilities would fly at half-mast for one week from noon Monday (Central European Time).