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Fear mounts over fate of 2 missing Malaysians


ALGERIAN HOSTAGE DRAMA: Embassy in Algiers checking on their status

KUALA LUMPUR: THE Malaysian embassy in Algiers has received information of  the  worrying possibility that one of the two Malay-sians still unaccounted for in the In Amenas hostage crisis is dead while the fate of the other Malay-sian is still unknown.

Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman, in a statement, said a representative from JGC Construction Pte Ltd, the company that employed the Malaysians, had informed the embassy on the latest developments.

The missing are Chong Ngen Chung and Tan Pin Wee.

"The Malaysian embassy will exert all efforts to work closely with the Algerian authorities and JGC Construction Pte Ltd to verify further the latest news concerning the two Malaysians," Bernama reported him as saying.

Officials from the Malaysian embassy in Algiers met with the three Malaysians rescued in the hostage drama.

They have been transferred to the Algerian capital and arrangements are being made to bring them back to Malaysia.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry had notified the families of the three Malaysians about their condition.

The five Malaysians were among 130 workers of various nationalities at the In Amenas Oil and Gas Production Complex in Algeria taken hostage by a group of militants.

It is believed that the incident was an act of revenge against the Algerian government for allowing the country's air space to be used by French fighter jets to attack Islamist rebels in Mali.

The three rescued were K. Ravi, Lau Seek Chiang and Patrict Purait Awang.

In Miri, the Lun Bawang community greeted with relief news that Awang had escaped unhurt and is on a flight back home.

Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Richard Riot broke the news on Saturday that Awang was one of three Malaysians accounted for.

"We thank the government for bringing him home," president of the Lawas Lun Bawang Association Frederick Lalung Ngilo said.

Ngilo advised Sarawakians working in the oil and gas industry overseas to take precautions and to anticipate trouble when sent to work in trouble spots.

"This is not the first time Sarawakian oil and gas workers have got into trouble."

He noted that an oil and gas worker, also from here, was kidnapped by Nigerian militants last year and held for 22 days before he was freed.

In Seremban, the 40-year-old wife of one of the missing Malaysian hostages is praying that her husband, Tan, is still alive.

She said she was worried by news reports that everyone not accounted for until now was dead.

Hostages are seen with their hands in the air at the In Amenas gas facility in this still image received January 19, 2013 and taken from video footage on Jan 16. or January 17, 2013. The Algerian army carried out a final assault to end a siege by militants at the desert gas plant on Saturday, killing 11 al-Qaeda-linked gunmen. Reuters pic

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