Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

#TECH 24

Mind the Gender Gap : getting more women into the tech sector

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Bolivian children: heading to work aged 10

Read more

WEB NEWS

Israel and Hamas battle online over public opinion

Read more

FOCUS

Can Chancellor Merkel's winning streak last?

Read more

FOCUS

Hunger in a fertile land...

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria: One Hundred Days and Counting (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria: One Hundred Days and Counting

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

'Why Are So Many Children Dying in Gaza?'

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Central African Republic: Seleka calls for partition

Read more

  • Sudanese Christian woman sentenced to death arrives in Italy

    Read more

  • Two foreign women shot dead in western Afghanistan

    Read more

  • Cycling is ‘winning the war on doping,’ says expert

    Read more

  • Ceasefire agreed for Central African Republic

    Read more

  • In pictures: Thousands march for Gaza peace in Paris

    Read more

  • Can Jew-kissing-Arab selfie give peace a viral chance?

    Read more

  • France charges Swiss bank UBS with tax fraud

    Read more

  • Israel faces heightened diplomatic pressure as Gaza violence rages

    Read more

  • Botched Arizona execution takes nearly two hours

    Read more

  • Bomb attacks leave scores dead in north Nigeria

    Read more

  • Netherlands holds day of mourning for victims of flight MH17

    Read more

  • Two Ukrainian fighter jets shot down over rebel-held territory

    Read more

  • Ryanair ordered to pay back €9.6m in illegal state aid to France

    Read more

  • Gaza protests: ‘France imported the Mideast conflict a long time ago’

    Read more

Africa

Algerian PM says 37 foreigners killed in siege

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-01-22

The siege at a BP gas plant in south-eastern Algeria last week cost the lives of at least 37 foreign workers, one Algerian and 29 of the hostage-takers, Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal told a press conference on Monday.

At least 37 foreign workers, one Algerian national and 29 of the hostage-takers were killed at the gas plant siege in southern Algeria last week, according to Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal.

Five foreigners remained “missing” after Algerian special forces ended a four-day crisis with an all-out assault Saturday morning, Sellal told a press conference in Algiers.

According to Sellal, the special forces - “trained for just this type of operation” - had tried to negotiate with the Islamist group, who he said had travelled to the BP gas plant from northern Mali.

Sellal stated however that “their demands were unacceptable.” The prime minister added that as the crisis escalated the hostage-takers made it clear that they planned to “blow up the plant”, prompting Algerian forces to launch a final and bloody assault.

The 37 hostages killed represented eight nationalities, he said, including one French, one American, at least one Canadian, two Romanians, three Britons six Filipinos and seven Japanese.

Canadian coordinated terror attack

Of the hostage takers, 29 were killed and three were captured. The terrorist attack was coordinated by an Islamist holding Canadian nationality, according to Sellal, who said the deaths of the hostages were a “collective murder” for which only the terrorists were responsible.

Sellal also said the attack by the al Qaeda-linked group had been “at least two months” in the planning – well before France’s military campaign against Islamists in northern Mali, which the hostage-takers used as a pretext for their assault.

The Algerian premier justified the assault on Thursday in which army helicopters targeted vehicles containing Islamists and hostages “being used as human shields” stating that security forces feared the Islamists were trying to escape.

The group behind the raid, the al Qaeda-linked Mulathameen Brigade, has threatened to carry out more such attacks if Western powers do not end what it called an assault on Muslims in Mali, according to the SITE service, which monitors militant statements.

Propaganda?

Leela Jacinto, International Affairs Editor at FRANCE 24, said we could expect to see many more such warnings. Jacinto argues that the group and its leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar are “waging a propaganda war.”

“In jihadist circles this attack is a coup for Belmokhtar. Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb is a very loose network and there is tremendous jockeying for power among senior figures, so you can expect many more messages like these to counter what is going to be the official Algerian position which is, ‘We have won this’.”

Monday’s press conference was the Algerian government’s first official public explanation for last week’s events, which exposed the vulnerability of foreign-owned gas and oil installations in the region.




 

Date created : 2013-01-21

  • ALGERIA-FRANCE

    Speculation grows over ‘French jihadist’ in Algeria

    Read more

  • ALGERIA

    Death toll climbs in Algerian hostage crisis

    Read more

  • ALGERIA

    Final assault on Algerian gas plant ends hostage crisis

    Read more

COMMENT(S)