Harper: No new information from Algeria on alleged Canadian terrorist link
The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, January 23, 2013 12:13PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, January 23, 2013 12:19PM EST
OTTAWA -- Canada still has no substantial information from the Algerian government to confirm claims that Canadians were among the al Qaeda linked terrorists who took hostages at an isolated energy plant, says Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Canadian officials are still trying to get information from their Algerian counterparts, Harper told a news conference Wednesday in Cambridge, Ont.
Harper said he has not spoken to Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal, who claimed two Canadian nationals were among the band of al Qaeda-linked militants who took hundreds of workers hostage at a natural gas complex.
"People in our government are in contact with the government of Algeria," Harper said.
"We have no substantial information at the present time on these particular individuals, but obviously we will continue to work with the government of Algeria to find out more about this particular matter."
Canadian diplomats in Algeria are also seeking access to more details in order to either confirm or debunk reports that there were two Canadians among the terrorists involved in the attack on the remote plant in the Algerian desert.
The Department of Foreign Affairs has summoned Algeria's ambassador to Canada to explain the specific basis for Sellal's comments, which so far appear to be the sole source of the reports.
Authorities say 37 hostages and 29 militants were killed when Algerian forces stormed the complex.
Five foreign workers remain missing.