Algeria kidnap victims 'top priority': Japan

  • MH192’s number three main wheel burst during take off, says Hishammuddin – Bernama
    MH192’s number three main wheel burst during take off, says Hishammuddin – Bernama

    Preliminary investigation findings on the Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH192 incident has revealed that the number three main wheel of the aircraft had burst during take off. Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein (pic) said the aircraft was currently grounded at the MAS Engineering facility in Kuala Lumpur International... …

  • Bible banned from Pahang hotel rooms – Bernama

    The Pahang Islamic and Malay Customs Council (MAIP) has prohibited hotel proprietors in the state from placing religious reading materials of other religions other than Islam in their rooms. According to MAIP deputy president, Datuk Seri Wan Abdul Wahid Wan Hassan, a letter of prohibition on the matter had been sent to 147 hotels across the... …

  • Pre-lim report to ICAO not public, yet

    Malaysia has yet to decide on whether the preliminary report on the MH370 incident submitted to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) will be made public.   "We have issued the preliminary report. We've sent it to ICAO but we have not made a decision to release to media or the public," Department of Civil Aviation Chief Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur.   Asked again on why it will not be released to public, although it is common practice, …

  • Take second job to tackle household debt, urges AKPK – Bernama
    Take second job to tackle household debt, urges AKPK – Bernama

    The Credit Counseling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK) has urged Malaysians to take a second job to help them tackle the high rate of household debt. Chief executive officer Koid Swee Lian (pic) said those in the teaching line, for example, could give extra classes to earn more money. "Teachers could earn more money by giving tuition to... …

  • International team probing MH370 to be finalised next week, Hishammuddin says
    International team probing MH370 to be finalised next week, Hishammuddin says

    KUALA LUMPUR, April 23 — Malaysia expects to finalise by next week the list of members on the independent team of experts commissioned by Putrajaya to carry out an extensive probe on the... …

  • Absolute power corrupts absolutely, Dr Mahathir reminds current leaders
    Absolute power corrupts absolutely, Dr Mahathir reminds current leaders

    Malaysian leaders have been reminded not to look down on the public’s capability to topple a corrupt government as what had happened in the Middle East during the Arab spring, warned Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (pic). In his latest blog posting today, the country’s longest serving prime minister said that monarchs and dictators in the Middle East... …

Japan said on Thursday it was placing "top priority" on the lives of hostages, including a number of Japanese, snatched by Islamist gunmen who attacked a gas complex in Algeria.

At least three Japanese were among the 41 foreigners kidnapped by heavily armed men after a gunfight that left two people dead and six injured, Japanese press reported.

The gunmen said they had carried out the assault in response to a French military intervention in Mali, where Islamists have seized swathes of the country.

The group, who said they entered Algeria from northern Mali, told Mauritanian media their hostages included French, British and Japanese citizens, as well as seven Americans.

The dead were a Briton and an Algerian, Algeria's Interior Minister Dahou Ould Kablia said.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga refused to confirm the exact number of Japanese hostages, but said the government was "extremely concerned".

"We will put top priority on the lives of victims and rescue the Japanese as quickly as possible by closely coordinating with countries concerned," he told a news conference.

Suga said a government task force had been assembled on the instructions of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and held its first meeting on Thursday morning.

Speaking in Hanoi, where he began a tour of Southeast Asia, Abe told reporters the kidnapping was "unforgivable".

"I have ordered (the government) to do three things: First, act by putting priority on people's lives; Second, try to determine the situation; Third, boost cooperation with countries concerned," he said.

The attack took place at dawn on Wednesday, when armed Islamists targeted a bus carrying oil workers to the In Amenas airport, near Algeria's border with Libya, the country's interior ministry said.

After a fight they took hostages at the residential compound of the gas field, which is jointly operated by British oil giant BP, Norway's Statoil and state-run Algerian energy firm Sonatrach.

A worker at the scene told AFP by phone that the armed group was demanding freedom for 100 Islamists held in Algeria in exchange for the Western hostages.

Japanese contracting firm JGC said in a statement on Thursday it believed some of its employees were being held.

"We want to refrain from making remarks on details such as the location and the number of people involved in order to secure the safety of the employees," it said.

"We are doing our best to rescue the employees in cooperation with the Japanese government."

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, who heads to Washington on Friday, said he had talked with his Algerian counterpart and strongly urged the Algerian government to put the highest priority on people's lives.

He said the ministry will dispatch Parliamentary Vice Foreign Minister Minoru Kiuchi to Algeria as soon as possible, adding he would be coordinating Japan's response with that of the US.

Mali has been effectively split in two since April, when Islamists took advantage of a military coup in Bamako and an offensive launched by Tuareg separatists in the north to seize half the country.

Follow @YahooMalaysia on LINE for daily news updates.

Comments on Yahoo pages are subject to our link to Comments Guidelines. You are responsible for any content that you post. Yahoo is not responsible or liable in any way for comments posted by its users. Yahoo does not in any way endorse or support comments made by its users.

  • MH370 passenger’s partner tells of strange email from sacked Fox officer The Malaysian Insider
    MH370 passenger’s partner tells of strange email from sacked Fox officer

    The partner of an American passenger aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has spoken about how a Fox executive who was recently sacked by the news station had contacted her offering to raise funds on her behalf. Sarah Bajc, whose partner Philip Wood is among the 239 people on board the missing plane, told the Sydney Morning Herald... …

  • Dr Ling’s son chose wine over woman, court hears The Malaysian Insider
    Dr Ling’s son chose wine over woman, court hears

    The son of former MCA president Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik today reached an out of court settlement with his ex-girlfriend in a breach of contract suit over seven properties registered under their joint names. Ling Hee Leong and businesswoman Teh Chee Yen agreed to settle out of court after he took the stand briefly and testified that he had chosen... …

  • MB: Only 29 days of water left in Selangor Malaysiakini

    Although heavy rain led to flash floods in parts of the Klang Valley yesterday, the Selangor government has said that taps will run completely dry in 29 days if rationing is not continued. "For now, we must continue with rationing as the level at the main dam, the Sungai Selangor dam, is below the critical level and can only last 29 days if rationing is not conducted," Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim said in a statement.   "We really hope the rakyat understands this situation and supports …