Islamic militants say they have captured 41 foreign hostages at a natural gas complex in the Algerian desert, but there are conflicting reports about their numbers and nationalities, and 20 of them reportedly escaped Thursday.
Here’s a summary of the latest information on the hostages:
— ALGERIA: Hundreds of Algerians worked at the gas plant, but the Algerian media says most have been released. The Norwegian energy company Statoil says three of its Algerian employees are being held.
— NORWAY: Nine Norwegian employees of Statoil are hostages, the company says.
— UNITED STATES: Seven Americans have been captured, according to the militants. The U.S. says its citizens are involved but has given no numbers.
— BRITAIN: “Several” British nationals are among the hostages, the U.K. government says.
— JAPAN: At least three of the hostages are Japanese, according to the Japanese media.
— MALAYSIA: Two Malaysians being held, the government says.
— IRELAND: A 36-year-old Irish man is among the hostages, according to Ireland’s government.
— FRANCE: President Francois Hollande says there are French hostages but gave no exact number.