Victims of Algerian hostage crisis return to Japan
Thursday, January 24, 2013 - 00:43
Jan. 25 - A government plane carrying the survivors and bodies of those killed in the Algerian hostage crisis return to Japan. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
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(ROUGH CUT ONLY - NO REPORTER NARRATION)
A Japanese government plane carrying nine deceased and seven survivors of the Algerian hostage crisis returned to Tokyo on Friday (January 25) at 0648 local time (2148 GMT).
Greeted at the airport by government officials and mourners, survivors were loaded into passenger vans and quickly transported away from the airport.
Caskets of the deceased were ceremoniously unloaded from the cargo of the plane as those gathered paused for a moment of silence to honour the deceased.
Laying bouquets of white flowers on top of the caskets, officials bowed in respect to those killed in what is being called the worst overseas incident involving Japanese citizens since 9/11.
The Japanese government had sent a special plane to repatriate Japanese survivors and the remains of the dead, although the body of the final hostage will be returned at a later date.
On Thursday evening (January 24) confirmation regarding the death of the final missing Japanese national was announced.
"We have had contact from the task force at the mortuary. We have confirmation regarding the status of the final missing Japanese national," JGC Corporation's Takeshi Endo said at a news conference at the company headquarters in Yokohama.
"This is truly such a tragic outcome," a tearful Endo said.
JGC Corporation had several dozen Japanese employees working at the plant.
The four-day siege of a gas field in the Algerian desert by Islamists opposed to the French intervention in northern Mali drew global attention to Islamists in the Sahara and Sahel regions. It also brought promises of support to African governments from Western powers, whose toppling of Libya's Muammar Gaddafi helped flood the region with weapons.
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