North East men freed in Algeria

It has been confirmed that workers from the North East were involved in a hostage situation in Algeria where gas workers were taken hostage by Islamic militants. Three men from the region were freed last week.

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Durham hostage survivor pays tribute to Scottish colleagues

A man from Durham who survived the Algerian hostage crisis has paid tribute to two Scottish colleagues believed to have died in the attack.

Peter Hunter was reunited with wife Kerry after he spent days in hiding at a secret location at the sprawling plant.

He said he was "fortunate" to be able to return home and described colleagues Carson Bilsland and Kenneth Whiteside as "lovely guys".

"I guess you could say I was not in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I used to see Carson every morning and every lunchtime and we always had a bit of banter. He was a lovely guy, they all were.

Kenny Whiteside used to play the bagpipes. Occasionally he would have his kilt on. I used to sit on the step there and he used to say, 'I do requests'. He was a lovely, lovely man.

It's just very sad."

– Peter Hunter

Mr Whiteside, a 59-year-old from Glenrothes, Fife, was a planning manager at the In Amenas desert complex.

His brother said on Tuesday that police have confirmed he was executed.

Mr Bilsland, a former member of the British speed ski team. from Perthsire, is also believed to have died in the siege.

Full Report: Freed man from Co Durham thanks public

A father from Durham has thanked the Algerian authorities who rescued him and many of his colleagues held hostage by terrorists last week.

Peter Hunter says that he is relieved to be back home with his family.

David Cameron today pledged to track down the militant group responsible for the deaths of thirty seven foreign workers, including at least three Britons.

You can see the full report from Ben Chapman below.

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Scottish victim confirmed among Algeria deaths

59-year-old Kenneth Whiteside, from Fife in Scotland, was shot dead by Algerian militants after being held captive for two days at the gas plant at In Amenas.

His captors executed him as the Algerian army moved in. He was one of a number of foreigners who were lined up and shot dead. He leaves behind a wife and two daughters who live in South Africa.

Freed man from County Durham thanks public for support

A man from County Durham, who was freed after being held hostage in Algeria, has thanked the public for their support during and after the crisis.

Peter Hunter also thanked the Foreign Office and expressed his sadness for those less fortunate than himself.

The Prime Minister David Cameron confirmed earlier that three Britons had been killed during the hostage situation, with a further three British nationals believed to be amongst the dead.

“I would like to thank the public, the Foreign Office and BP for all their support.

I have nothing but praise for the Algerian authorities, who were sympathetic, professional, caring and kind throughout.

I want to thank them for what they did for us.

We followed procedures that were in place and that we knew about, and that’s why I’m here.

We were the fortunate ones.

My thoughts are with the families of our colleagues who were less fortunate.”

– Peter Hunter

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County Durham man among freed hostages in Algeria

Peter Hunter (middle) with two other freed hostages Credit: ZUMA/Rex Features

A second North East worker is among the western hostages freed in Algeria.

53 year old Peter Hunter from County Durham is understood to have flown back to the UK.

The hostages were freed after Algerian forces attacked the militant Islamist group that had seized control of a remote BP gas plant.

Darren Matthews, from Loftus, was released on Friday.

Family of hostage release statement

The family of a gas worker from Teesside who was taken hostage by terrorists in Algeria have spoken of their relief after the ordeal.

Darren Matthews, from Loftus, was released from the gas plant on Friday. His family have released the follow statement:

We have been extremely worried about Darren and we are pleased and relieved to learn that he is safe and well. We look forward to having him home soon.

We ask that the media respect our privacy at this difficult time.

– Family of Darren Matthews

Full Report: North East man freed in Algeria

A gas worker from Teesside who was being held hostage in Algeria has been freed, and has been speaking on television about his experience.

Darren Matthews from Loftus said that he was relieved to be free, but would not feel completely safe until he was back in the UK.

It is thought that around ten British people are still being held, after terrorists stormed a gas plant two days ago.

You can see the full report from Ben Chapman below.

North East man freed in Algeria

A gas worker from Teesside who was being held hostage in Algeria has been freed, and has been speaking on television about his experience.

Darren Matthews from Loftus said he was relieved to be free, but wouldn't feel safe until he was back in the UK.

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