Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Freed hostage had bombs round neck

Stephen McFaul with his sons Dylan (left) and Jake

An Irishman who escaped from the Algerian hostage crisis had explosives tied around his neck, his brother said.

Father-of-two Stephen McFaul, 36, from west Belfast, fled after the vehicle he had been travelling in crashed after coming under attack from Algerian forces, Brian McFaul said. He was able to run off and has made it to safety.

Members of the family have been in contact with the electrician supervisor.

Mr McFaul said: "He had explosives tied around his neck. He was being transported in a convoy of five vehicles when they came under attack. His vehicle crashed."

Mr McFaul made contact with his wife Angela to say he was safe and well. His 13-year-old son Dylan declared he would give him a "big hug" as soon as he sees him. "I am very happy, I just cannot wait for him to come home," he said.

Mr McFaul, who also has a four-year-old son Jake, is being looked after by Algerian authorities while arrangements are made for his return.

Mr McFaul's father Christopher said his son was an easy-going, happy-go-lucky person who took everything in his stride, but that he was worried for him and delighted that he had come through the ordeal at the gasfield complex in Amenas. "I never doubted it but it is hard to say in those situations," he said.

Mr McFaul's wife Angela said she expected him home on Friday.

After meeting her earlier, Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore said Mr McFaul was physically unharmed. "Angela told me there is not a scratch on him," he said.

The Tanaiste would not elaborate on Mr McFaul's experience, saying he would prefer to leave it to him to tell the story. He said he was also conscious of the safety of others still involved. It is understood there are 60 Irish nationals registered as living in Algeria. "We have contact with those people and none of them are in any danger," Mr Gilmore added.

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