11 Mar 2012

Algeria custody row mother issues emotional plea

5:07 pm on 11 March 2012

The mother of three young Northland children, being held captive by their father in Algeria, has made an emotional online plea for their return.

It's been more than a fortnight since Mihi Puriri saw her children last and her youngest son Zakaria turns one on Sunday.

The one-year-old and his two and five-year-old sisters have been kept in an apartment in the town of Mostaganem by their father, Mohamed Azzaoui.

An attempt to retrieve the children, with the help of about 10 gendarmes, was blocked by police and Mr Azzaoui's family.

In a tearful video posted on YouTube to mark her son's birthday, Ms Puriri says it's unfair she's unable to spend the day with her son when his father didn't even bother going to the hospital for his birth.

Ms Puriri says she's under strict instructions from Mr Azzaoui not to contact the children, but she's still hopeful of speaking to them on Sunday.