Seven Japanese have been officially confirmed dead after last’s week hostage conflict in Algeria. Three other Japanese remain unaccounted for, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stated on Monday, during a meeting of the government’s task force on the crisis.
He also said the situation is “extremely regrettable” and he is “at a loss for words” that innocent people had been killed.
“The use of force by terrorists against innocent citizens is totally unforgivable. We strongly condemn it,” he said, according to the international press.
The victims were employed by a Japanese engineering company, JGC Corp. They were working in the Sahara desert, at a natural gas plant. Seven of their Japanese colleagues, working at the same plant, survived.
JGC spokesman Takeshi Endo confirmed the deaths. “The loss of many of our talented colleagues is my greatest sorrow,” he said.
“These people were working hard for the gas development project in Algeria,” chief government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said. “It is a great loss and a deep sadness for our country.”
He added that the victims’ repatriation is arranged by the government, which is also doing its utmost to find the other three missing Japanese workers.
Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal said on Monday that 37 foreign hostages and 29 Islamist militants had been killed during the conflict.