The prime minister of Algeria offered an unapologetic defense on Monday of the country’s tough actions to end the Sahara hostage crisis, saying that the militants who had carried out the kidnappings intended to kill all their captives and that the army saved many from death by attacking.
But the assertion came as the death toll of foreign hostages rose sharply, to 37, and as American officials said they had offered sophisticated surveillance help that could minimize casualties, both before and during the military operation to retake a seized gas field complex in the Algerian desert.
While some have shunned the Algerian government’s decision to pass on several Western countries’ offers to assist with the situation, Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal staunchly defended Algerians right to protect themselves from any/all attackers. “Algerians are not people who sell themselves out,” Sellal told members of the press, adding, “When the security of the country is at stake, there is no possible discussion.”
16:21 // 10 months ago
News that the attack at In Amenas was apparently led by a Canadian appeared to confirm reports that the region, especially the northern areas of Mali that are now controlled by violent Islamists, has become a magnet for radicals from all over the world.
The Maghreb Emergent website had already quoted one Algerian worker at the gas installation as saying that the kidnappers included Libyans, Egyptian and Syrian radicals.
Bad news continues to emerge from the Algerian gas field attacked by militant fighters last week, an act of terrorism which was allegedly carried out in retaliation for French intervention in Mali. New reports suggest nearly 40 foreign hostages died as a result of the attack, which came to an end after Algerian forces attempted to storm the complex last Thursday. Think the United States should be more involved?
15:24 // 10 months ago
Thirty hostages and at least 11 Islamist militants were killed on Thursday when Algerian forces stormed a desert gas plant in a bid to free many dozens of Western and local captives, an Algerian security source said.
Details remained scant - including for Western governments, some of which did little to disguise irritation at being kept in the dark by Algeria before the raid and its bloody outcome.
Two Japanese, two Britons and a French national were among at least seven foreigners killed, the source told Reuters. Eight of the dead hostages were Algerian. The nationalities of the rest, as well as of perhaps dozens more who escaped, were unclear.
One of the worst international hostage situations in the modern era has now come to an end; unfortunately, Thursday evening brought about what many would consider to be the worst possible outcome. Our thoughts go out to the family and friends of the deceased.
UPDATE: Information from varying sources is wildly different, according to USA Today, with some suggesting just a few casualties and others, including the Reuters report, suggesting as many as 30 people have died.
17:47 // 10 months ago