News / Africa

Algerian Militants Kidnap Foreigners in Retaliation for Mali Intervention

The Amenas natural gas field, where Islamist militants raided and took hostages on Wednesday Jan. 16, 2013, is seen in this undated image released by BP.
The Amenas natural gas field, where Islamist militants raided and took hostages on Wednesday Jan. 16, 2013, is seen in this undated image released by BP.
VOA News
Algerian forces have surrounded a natural gas complex deep in the Sahara Desert where Islamic militants took dozens of foreigners hostage Wednesday. 
 
The militants say they seized the foreigners in retaliation for France's military intervention in Mali. French troops and warplanes have been trying to push back Islamists linked to al-Qaida who control the northern part of the landlocked African nation. 
 
Ain Amenas, AlgeriaAin Amenas, Algeria
x
Ain Amenas, Algeria
Ain Amenas, Algeria
The group of hostages - up to 41 people, according to reports from the scene - include at least seven Americans, plus Britons, French, Japanese and Norwegian nationals. Well over 100 Algerians also were seized when the militants attacked at dawn, crossing the desert in four-wheel-drive vehicles. The Algerian captives were released later in small groups, however. 
 
Algerian officials said the militants were surrounded by government troops as night fell, with no obvious way to escape from the energy complex with their captives, but those accounts were impossible to verify. Algeria's interior minister, Dahou Ould Kablia, said his country will not negotiate with terrorists. 
 
The attackers are believed to have killed at least two people, possibly more, including one British national. Six other foreigners were believed wounded. 
 
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the kidnappings were an act of terrorism, and the United States will take all "necessary and proper steps" to deal with the situation. 
 
The kidnappers' exact affiliations are not clear, but a member of the group al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) spoke on their behalf to VOA Wednesday. He said the U.S. must "face the consequences" if it gives any assistance to the French military effort that began in Mali earlier this month. 
 
The United States listed the AQIM group as a terrorist organization more than 10 years ago. 
 
The spokesman for the Islamic Maghreb group said France has declared "war" on Islamists in northern Mali, and he vowed that Westerners would be harmed if the intervention continues. 
 
In Washington, the State Department said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton contacted Algeria's Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal. 
 
French forces entered Mali last week to help drive back Islamist militants moving towards the capital. At least three al-Qaida-linked groups are among those who seized control of northern Mali last year.
 
Algeria had long warned against military intervention against the rebels in northern Mali, fearing the violence could spill over its own long and porous border.

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid