BP fears worst for Algeria hostage missing

An undated general view of the In Amenas gas facility about 100km from the Algerian and Lbya border, is seen in this picture provided by Norwegian oil company, Statoil.

IN AMENAS, Algeria - Britain's BP said it fears the worst for employees still unaccounted for in the Algerian hostage siege as authorities searched for five missing foreigners and tried to identify seven charred bodies.

The oil giant, one of three companies running the desert gas plant at In Amenas, plans to hold a minute's silence at its offices around the world on Wednesday for the victims of the four-day standoff with Islamist militants.

Algeria's government said 37 foreigners of eight different nationalities and an Algerian were killed in the siege by the hostage-takers, who were demanding the release of Islamist prisoners and an end to France's intervention in Mali.

"The gas complex is so big that we are still in the process of looking for bodies, especially those of missing foreigners," said an official at the sprawling plant, 1,300 kilometres (800 miles) southeast of Algiers.

BP chief executive Bob Dudley warned that there could be little hope for four missing employees of the British company.

"We have been gravely concerned for these colleagues and feared one or more fatalities among their number," he said.

"It is with great sadness that I now have to say that we fear the worst for them all."

There was still no news about five missing foreign hostages and authorities are trying to identify seven burned bodies, an Algerian security source told AFP.

Algerian TV station Ennahar broadcast what it said was newly emerged video of the hostage-takers, in the open air outside a building in the complex.

The grainy footage showed two gun-toting men in camouflage fatigues. At one point a closely packed group of five or six people appear, their heads showing above a wall, but it is unclear if they are hostages.

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