- Algerian employee says Westerner was ‘blown up’ for trying to give first aid
- IT worker says Westerners were rounded up and targeted
- Attackers knew compound layout and were organised
By Anna Edwards
PUBLISHED: 22:41 GMT, 19 January 2013 | UPDATED: 23:52 GMT, 19 January 2013
A British security guard was murdered in cold blood just minutes into the siege at the Algerian gas plant, an IT worker caught up in the hostage crisis has told The Mail on Sunday.
The Algerian employee, who managed to escape, has given the most detailed account so far of how Islamist terrorists rounded up foreign workers during the four-day stand-off and placed explosives round their necks.
Following his escape, the IT worker contacted a friend who remained in the camp and witnessed yesterday’s final onslaught by Algerian troops.
Speaking under condition of anonymity after the Algerian army told him not to talk, he said: ‘The terrorists arrived at 5.10am on Wednesday in three vehicles and began firing at a bus. A guard was shot and then another guard got out of a car and was instantly shot dead. I believe he was the first Briton to die.’
The IT worker recalled how the Islamists systematically targeted Western employees.
‘The terrorists went to the alarm station, switched off the alarms, and forced the deputy manager to show them where the expats were. They rounded up the expats, making them all wear explosives around their necks while standing in a circle.
‘The attackers were carrying Kalashnikovs and bombs and went throughout the complex, seeking out expats hiding, and forcing them into the circle.’
He said more than 20 British workers – whom the terrorists called ‘kuffar’, meaning non-Muslims – were rounded up.
He added: ‘Us Algerians were rounded up separately and were treated with kindness. We were told that because we were Muslim we would not be killed, and it was only the Christians they were after.
‘The terrorists allowed the Algerians to send texts and make phone calls, but to stop the expats communicating, they forced an Algerian telecommunications man to cut network connections for mobile, internet and power. But a back-up system kicked in, which allowed some Brits to send text messages.