Sahara hostage drama 'in final phase'
Efforts to free 14 European tourists held hostage in the Sahara desert for months are in their final stage, German and Malian officials have said. There were unconfirmed reports that a German military plane was on its way from Niger to Mali, where the nine Germans, four Swiss and one Dutchman are thought to be. The hostages were among 32 tourists abducted by suspected Islamic extremists in southern Algeria earlier this year. The 14 remaining captives are believed to have been taken across the border into Mali, where attempts to secure their release were continuing on Monday. “We are in the final phase of efforts to resolve the hostage drama,” German Government spokesman Bela Anda told reporters. “We will inform you as soon as we know that the hostages are in German hands. For obvious reasons, we cannot say more now.” Full Story