4 Mar 2012

Husband accused of keeping kids in Algeria

11:07 am on 4 March 2012

A New Zealand woman has accused her husband of kidnapping their three children in his native Algeria.

Mihi Puriri from Northland says it's now more than a week since she last saw her daughters, Iman, aged five, and Assiya, aged two, and her son Zakaria who is almost one year old.

Ms Puriri says her husband Mohamed Azzaoui made the family travel from Northland to Algeria last August, saying his father was gravely ill.

Speaking from Algeria, she said Mr Azzaoui ripped up their passports on arrival there, then held her and the children in an apartment in the town of Mostaganem.

Ms Puriri was able to escape from the house on 23 February and says she's enduring a mother's worst nightmare.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs says New Zealand officials in Egypt are helping Ms Puriri.

Detective Senior Sergeant Steve Dunn of Interpol New Zealand says New Zealand police have no ability to intervene in the case.