Algeria siege: 'The army bombed the trucks'

Two survivors of the ongoing hostage crisis in Algeria, an Irishman and a Frenchman, have given harrowing details of their ordeal.

Stephen McFaul, an electrician from Northern Ireland with Irish citizenship, said he had escaped a bombardment by Algerian security forces in which other hostages died.

Alexandre Berceaux, who worked for a French catering company at the site near In Amenas, said he had hidden for nearly 40 hours in his bedroom before escaping.

Stephen McFaul, Irish electrician

Undated family handout photo of Stephen McFaul with his sons Dylan McFaul (left) and Jake McFaul (right) Stephen McFaul is seen here with his sons in an undated photo

After his escape, Mr McFaul spoke by telephone to his wife Angela, who in turn gave details to Irish Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore and Mr McFaul's brother, Brian.

Interviewed by Reuters news agency, the hostage's brother said Stephen, 36, had survived an attack by security forces on vehicles carrying militants and hostages.

"They were moving five jeep-loads of hostages from one part of the compound," he said.

"At that stage they were intercepted by the Algerian army. The army bombed four out of five of the trucks and four of them were destroyed.

"The truck my brother was in crashed and at that stage Stephen was able to make a break for his freedom. He presumed everyone else in the other trucks was killed."

After speaking to Angela, Foreign Minister Gilmore said: "I have been told at the stage where they [the hostages] were being transported, explosives were strapped to them."

Alexandre Berceaux, French caterer

"The main thing is that I am alive," Mr Berceaux told French radio station Europe 1.

Start Quote

I could see myself ending up between four boards”

End Quote

"I remained hidden for nearly 40 hours in my bedroom, under the bed. I had put boards just about everywhere."

"I had food and water," he added. "I didn't know how long I was going to stay there."

The Frenchman works for CIS Catering, which employs 150 Algerian staff at the site.

Some of his colleagues brought him food, using a password.

"When the Algerian soldiers, whom I thank, came to get me, I didn't even know it was over.

"They were with colleagues. Otherwise I would never have opened [the door].

"I was afraid. I could see myself ending up between four boards."

More on This Story

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Africa stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

  • Stained glass of man with swordFrance 1 England 0

    The most important battle you have probably never heard of


  • Golden retriever10 things

    Dogs get jealous, and nine more nuggets from the week's news


  • Pro-Israel demonstrators shout slogans while protesting in Berlin - 25 July 2014Holocaust guilt

    Gaza conflict leaves Germans confused over who to support


  • The emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-SabahFreedoms fear

    Growing concern for rights as Kuwait revokes citizenships


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • CastleRoyal real estate

    No longer reserved for kings and queens, some find living in a castle simply divine

Programmes

  • Leader of Hamas Khaled MeshaalHARDtalk Watch

    BBC exclusive: Hamas leader on the eagerness to end bloodshed in Gaza

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.