BP says it will begin reducing non-essential staff in its Algeria gas field operations in the wake of one of the biggest international hostage crises in decades. Ciara Sutton reports.
Relief for some involved in the hostage drama at a gas facility in Algeria. While these workers have been released from the desert facility targeted by militants, the full picture is yet to emerge. And now the companies involved in the plant are responding, with BP pulling non-essential staff out of all its Algerian gas field operations. Peter Mather is Head of BP UK. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PETER MATHER, HEAD OF BP UK, SAYING: "This is a very sad and distressing time for those people affected by this incident and for their families. Our focus is 100 percent on safety and welfare of those people and their families and we're now beginning a staged and planned reduction in non-essential workforce, temporary basis, pulling them out of the country." Fourteen Japanese were among those still unaccounted for along with workers from the Norwegian energy company Statoil. It runs the Tigantourine gas field with Britain's BP. Bard Glad Pedersen is a company spokesperson. (SOUNDBITE)(Norwegian) STATOIL SPOKESPERSON BARD GLAD PEDERSEN SAYING: "Our emergency team is working flat out to handle the situation. I am happy that we have good cooperation with Norwegian authorities and also other companies, the affected companies." Western leaders, including the UK's David Cameron, are clamouring for details. They want to know how dozens died when Algerian forces stormed the complex to free hundreds of captives. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON, SAYING: "We were not informed of this in advance, I was told by the Algerian Prime Minister while it was taking place. He said that the terrorists had tried to flee, that they judged therate to be an immediate threat to the lives of the hostages and had felt obliged to respond." It is clear one of the worst hostage dramas for decades could damage Algeria's vital oil industry, still recovering from years of civil war. And there are fears the crisis could spread - the al Qaeda linked hostage takers have threatened to attack other energy installations.