Japan PM authorises 'every possible means' to ensure safety of Japanese in Algeria
TOKYO (AFP) - Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Saturday ordered his government to do everything possible to ensure the safety of 10 Japanese nationals unaccounted for in the Algeria hostage crisis.
Mr Abe attended a meeting of a government taskforce shortly after arriving in Tokyo after cutting short a trip to South-east Asia.
"I would like you to do your best to confirm the safety of the Japanese and rescue them by using every possible means," he told top government officials at the meeting.
Al-Qaeda-linked gunmen, cited by Mauritania's ANI news agency, said they were still holding seven foreigners at a remote Algerian gas plant deep in the Sahara desert - three Belgians, two Americans, one Japanese and a Briton.