Hostages react after they were freed from a gas facility in Algeria where Islamist militants were holding them in Tigantourine, in this still image taken from video footage January 18, 2013. (REUTERS/Algerian TV via Reuters TV)
OTTAWA - The foreign affairs department is investigating whether any Canadians are among the Islamist terrorists who stormed a natural gas plant in Algeria this week, sparking an international hostage crisis.
"We are pursuing all appropriate channels to seek further information and are in close contact with Algerian authorities," spokeswoman Chrystiane Roy said in an e-mail. "Canada condemns in the strongest possible terms this deplorable and cowardly act and all terrorist groups which seek to create and perpetuate insecurity in the Sahel countries of West Africa."
News reports out of Mauritania quote the al-Qaida splinter group known as Signatories by Blood as saying the hostage-takers at the centre of the crisis are from Canada, Mali, Egypt, Algeria, Niger and Mauritania.