Three Romanians held in Algeria freed

An Algerian military truck drives past a road sign indicating the city of Ain Amenas where hostages have been kidnapped by islamic militants at a gas plant , Friday, Jan. 18, 2013. (AP Photo/Anis Belghoul)

BUCHAREST: Three Romanians held hostage in Algeria by Al-Qaeda-linked captors were freed, the Romanian foreign affairs ministry said Saturday.

"One hostage managed to get in touch with the Romanian embassy via a cell phone and received guidance as to the steps to take, which saved his life," the ministry said in a press release.

Two other hostages were freed late Friday and were under the protection of Algerian forces.

The three men are to be rapatriated soon, the ministry said.

Foreign affairs minister Titus Corlatean spoke on the phone with his Algerian counterpart Mourad Medelci about the "dramatic events underway at the In Amenas gas plant", the ministry added.

"Corlatean firmly condemned the acts of terrorism and conveyed Romania's solidarity with the victims."

He also "voiced the concern and expectations of Romanian public opinion regarding the actions aimed at freeing the foreign and Algerian hostages."

Bucharest has sent two additional consuls to Algiers to deal with the Romanians' repatriation.

The Al-Qaeda-linked gunmen, cited by Mauritania's ANI news agency, said they still held seven foreigners at the site deep in the Sahara desert near the border with Libya. An Algerian security official put their number at 10.





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