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

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid