Algeria Hostages: Man From Belfast Released

The family of the Irishman freed in the Algerian hostage crisis have been talking of their joy.

Stephen McFaul, 36, from west Belfast, made contact with his wife Angela at around 3pm to confirm he was no longer being held captive, his sister Donna McBride said.

Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs had earlier announced he was free.

Ms McBride said: “We are absolutely delighted that he is free and is unharmed.

“I feel so sorry for the rest of the families who have lost loved ones and others who are missing.”

She said her brother was currently with officials in Algeria being debriefed.

Mr McFaul’s father, Christopher McFaul, said he was “delighted” his son had been freed and described the last 48 hours as “hell”.

His 13-year-old son Dylan said: “I can’t even explain the excitement. I can’t wait until he gets home again.”

He added he would tell him “he’s never going back there and I’m not letting him”.

Ireland’s prime minister Enda Kenny said he is greatly relieved to hear Mr McFaul was safe and well.

“I believe he has already spoken to his family in Belfast and I wish him a safe return home to his loved ones,” he said.

Mr McFaul, a father-of-two, worked as a supervising electrician at the In Amenas gas plant, where he other foreign nationals were taken captive by Islamist rebels.

Algeria is one of a number of African countries he has worked in during hois career in the industry.

He lives in Antrim and was last home on Boxing Day.

Ms McBride added: “He is a very kind person. He would do a lot for anybody, he would do anything for anyone.

“I can imagine out there he has probably done everything in his power to make sure everybody is safe.”