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

Beijing Warns Hong Kong Protesters, Cracks Down at Home

In suppressing protest news, China reportedly has arrested more than 20 people on the mainland who acted in support of Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters More

Competing Goals Could Frustrate Efforts to Fight Islamic State

As alliances shift and countries re-define themselves, analysts say long-standing goals of some key players in Middle East may soon compete with Western goals More

Child Sexual Exploitation to Worsen in SE Asia

Southeast Asia’s planned economic integration is a key step for boosting the region’s productivity, but carries downsides as well 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid