Hostages freed from the besieged gas plant in Algeria during the military operation have been speaking about their experiences.
In the nearby town of In Amenas the sense of relief was obvious – there was also praise for the Algerian army, whose intervention was described by one ex-hostage as very impressive.
“We went out and waved white banners so the national army would recognise us as workers and let us go,” said an Algerian worker.
At the local hospital, freed workers said staff were looking after them well.
“Everything is ok. Thanks to the Algerian army and hospital workers, everyone is taking good care of us and we are lucky that we are still alive and everything is good,” said a worker from Turkey.
He was then asked what he thought of the Algerian army: “They are a bit noisy!” he laughed. “We were in our rooms – we just heard this happening, they saved us.”
A British man identified as Ian was not alone in describing said the Algerian intervention as “fantastic”. He said he was very relieved to be out.
“Obviously, we still don’t really know what is happening back on the site, so as much as we are glad to be out, our thoughts are with colleagues who are still there at the moment. Very relieved.”
The workers have a range of nationalities, just like those still trapped. For some, total relief will not come until they are back home.