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Houston-area man among American hostages in Algeria

Thursday, January 17, 2013
In this undated image released Wednesday Jan. 16, 2013, by BP petroleum company, showing the Amenas natural gas field in the eastern central region of Algeria, where Islamist militants raided and took hostages Wednesday Jan. 16, 2013. Islamist militants from Mali attacked the Amenas natural gas field partly operated by BP in Algeria early on Wednesday, killing a security guard and kidnapping at least eight people, including English, Norwegian and Japanese nationals, an Algerian security official and local media reported. Algerian forces, later caught up with and surrounded the kidnappers and negotiations for the release of the hostages are ongoing, officials said.(AP Photo/BP)

One of the American hostages in Algeria is a Houston-area man. The State Department has asked his identity not be revealed.

The hostage's brother lives in Nederland, Texas. Last word from the State Department, he says, is that his brother was still alive. He has declined an on-camera interview though, too worried still about his brother's safety.

"They won't let us. The FBI says don't talk to anybody right now," said the hostage's brother.

At the Nederland home of the hostage's brother, tensions are high. They don't know if their loved one is alive or dead.

"We haven't heard that. We don't know," he said.

The hostage is 57 years old and his name is listed in public records affiliated with a northeast Harris County home. No one answered when we arrived.

His family has asked us not to identify him, fearing it could jeopardize his safety.

Neighbors say they don't know the man well, but they are hoping for his safe release soon.

"Yeah, of course, you know. Yeah, I hope he is better," said neighbor Lan Thai.

"It is really sad that this happened," said neighbor Cambria White.

The Nederland native's family says he worked previously for another company previously in Houston. Englobal confirms he was a project manager there from 1998 through October of last year.

We don't know if he is among those still alive or the unknown number of casualties now in Algeria.

Information coming out of Algeria still is inexact. There are some reports of hostages escaping but specifics are unknown.
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