Freed hostage awaits family reunion in Belfast

Stephen McFaul with one of his two sons, in a picture taken four years ago. Photo: Family handout

Family and friends of a man from Belfast who escaped after being taken hostage by a group of Islamist rebels in the Sahara desert are preparing to welcome him home today.

Father-of-two Stephen McFaul, from west Belfast, is due to arrive back in Northern Ireland today.

His brother Brian McFaul said he had been in contact with members of his family and was in "bright" spirits.

The supervisor electrician was captured whilst working at a gas plant at In Amenas, near the Libyan border with Algeria.

He was held for two days, along with dozens of his co-workers, at the plant in the Sahara desert, Algeria. He managed to escape and has spent the past two days at a "safe house" according to his family.

He made contact with his wife Angela at about 3pm on Thursday to say he was safe and well.

His mother Marie McFaul said on Thursday she was "over the moon" he was safe, and couldn't wait to see him.