German Minister: Sahara Hostages May Be Freed 'Very Soon.'
German Deputy Foreign Minister Juergen Chrobog said Thursday 14 European tourists who have been held hostage in the Sahara desert for months could be freed “very soon.” The hostages – nine Germans, four Swiss and one Dutch – are thought to be held by an Algerian militant group known as the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), fighting for a purist Islamist state. “We believe that we both, the Malian and the German governments, could reach a solution very soon,” Chrobog told reporters at the airport in Mali’s capital Bamako. “I am personally confident. We are in a very decisive phase in this matter,” he said before heading back to Germany. The hostages were moved to Mali from Algeria in July. They were among 32 European tourists seized in February and March as they traveled in a remote area of southern Algeria. Chrobog dismissed media reports that some of the hostages were seriously sick and needed urgent medical treatment. “We have no hints at all that it (the hostages’ health) is seriously bad, but we hope and pray that we can soon achieve a result,” he said. Full Story