The U.S. Department of State has confirmed that Victor Lynn Lovelady, 57, a Nederland native, is among 37 hostages who died in the terrorist seizure and ensuing special forces assault on an natural gas plant in Algeria.
Mike Lovelady told KBMT News Partner the Beaumont Enterprise he last saw his brother in November before he took an assignment with an unknown company at the site in southeastern Algeria in the Sahara desert.
"We would like to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers and ask that you continue in prayer for our family as we mourn the loss of Victor," Mike Lovelady told the Enterprise.Five other hostages are missing from the In Amenas complex and could be dead, Prime Minister Abdul Malek Sallal said.
Before Sallal's statement Monday, other countries and companies that employed foreign workers at the sprawling plant had confirmed a total of 29 hostage deaths.
Algerian special forces stormed the complex twice -- once Thursday and then again Saturday -- to free hostages held by Islamist militants for four days. The government said it did so because the militants were planning to blow up the installation and flee to neighboring Mali with hostages.
"If it exploded, it could have killed and destroyed anything within 5 kilometers or further," Sallal said.
Dozens of militants and hostages died in the raids. But security forces were able to free hundreds of workers, authorities said.
The State Department issued the following news release Monday afternoon:
STATEMENT BY VICTORIA NULAND, SPOKESPERSON
Terrorist Attack in Algeria
We can now confirm the death of three U.S. citizens in the terrorist attack in Algeria: Victor Lynn Lovelady, Gordon Lee Rowan, and Frederick Buttaccio. We extend our deepest condolences to their families and friends. Out of respect for the families' privacy, we have no further comment. We are also aware of seven U.S. citizens who survived the attack. Due to privacy considerations, we have no further information to provide.
As the President said, the blame for this tragedy rests with the terrorists who carried it out, and the United States condemns their actions in the strongest possible terms. We will continue to work closely with the Government of Algeria to gain a fuller understanding of the terrorist attack of last week and how we can work together moving forward to combat such threats in the future.