Algerian special forces on Saturday stormed a natural gas complex in Ain Amenas in the Sahara desert to end the four-day seizure of the facility by Islamic militants who took many workers of various nationalities hostages. Among those taken hostages were employees of JGC Corp., a Yokohama-based major company specializing in the construction of oil refineries and liquefied natural gas facilities. Although the Algerian government announced that the Algerian forces liberated 107 foreign hostages and 685 Algerian hostages, it also announced that 23 hostages and 32 militants were killed during the assault. It is regrettable that the assault resulted in the death of many hostages. A report says 12 Japanese have been confirmed among the dead.

Algeria did not give a prior notice about the assault to the governments of countries whose nationals were being held hostage. Some of these governments, including Japan, have complained that they have been kept uninformed about the Algerian government’s plans. Even before Saturday’s assault, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga had described earlier actions by Algerian forces as “regrettable,” suggesting Japan’s dissatisfaction with how Algeria was handling the crisis.

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