Canada says checking reports about Canadian Algeria militant

OTTAWA Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:51pm IST

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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada is seeking more details on reports that a Canadian was involved in the Algerian hostage-taking, the foreign affairs department said on Monday.

Condemning the "deplorable and cowardly act," a foreign affairs spokesman said Canada was in close contact with the authorities in Algeria after the hostage-taking at a gas plant near Algeria's border with Libya last week.

An Algerian security source told Reuters in Algiers that documents found on the bodies of two militants had identified them as Canadians. However Ottawa only referred to one possible Canadian.

"We support the Government of Algeria in its ongoing struggle against terrorist forces, and we will continue to work with the Algerians and other North African countries to stop the forces of extremism," the spokesman said by email.

At least 80 people died in the siege and hostage taking, a venture that turned deadly when the Algerian army opened fire, saying fighters were trying to escape with their prisoners.

Survivors said Algerian forces blasted several trucks in a convoy carrying both hostages and their captors.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren, writing by Janet Guttsman; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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