The fruits of Muslim immigration: Algeria finds dead Canadian militants as siege toll rises

by 1389 on January 21, 2013

in 1389 (blog admin), Algeria, Canada, ethical oil

Another strong argument for using ethical oil from North American sources, rather than conflict oil from Islamic lands:

Map: Location of In Amenas in Algeria

Reuters has the story:

(h/t: Blazing Cat Fur)

By Lamine Chikhi

ALGIERS (Reuters) – Algerian forces have found the bodies of two Canadian Islamist fighters after a bloody siege at a desert gas plant, a security source said on Monday, as the death toll reached at least 80 after troops stormed the complex to end the hostage crisis.

Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal is expected to give details on Monday about the siege near the town of In Amenas, which left American, British, French, Japanese, Norwegian, Filipino and Romanian workers dead or missing.

Much remains unclear about events after the jihadists staged the attack last Wednesday. However, an Algerian newspaper said they had arrived in cars painted in the colors of state energy company Sonatrach but registered in neighboring Libya, a country awash with arms since Muammar Gaddafi’s fall in 2011.

The Algerian security source told Reuters that documents found on the bodies of the two militants had identified them as Canadians, as special forces scoured the plant following Saturday’s bloody end to the crisis.

Veteran Islamist fighter Mokhtar Belmokhtar claimed responsibility for the attack on behalf of al Qaeda, and an official Algerian source has said the militants included people from outside the African continent, as well as Arabs and Africans.

A security source said on Sunday that Algerian troops had found the bodies of 25 hostages, raising the number of hostages killed to 48 and the total number of deaths to at least 80. He said six militants were captured alive and troops were still searching for others.

A Japanese government source said the Algerian government had informed Tokyo that nine Japanese had been killed, the biggest toll so far among foreigners at the plant. Six Filipinos died and four were wounded, a government spokesman in Manila said.

The raid has exposed the vulnerability of multinational-run oil and gas installations in an important producing region and pushed the growing threat from Islamist militant groups in the Sahara to a prominent position in the West’s security agenda.

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has ordered an investigation into how security forces failed to prevent the attack, the daily El Khabar said. The militants had used nine cars in Sonatrach colors and all with Libyan registration plates, it quoted unnamed security sources as saying.

Algerian Tahar Ben Cheneb – leader of a group called the Movement of Islamic Youth in the South who was killed on the first day of the assault – had been based in Libya where he married a local woman two months ago, it said.

ONE-EYED JIHADIST

Belmokhtar – a one-eyed jihadist who fought in Afghanistan and Algeria’s civil war of the 1990s when the secular government fought Islamists – tied the desert attack to France’s intervention across the Sahara against Islamist rebels in Mali.

“We in al Qaeda announce this blessed operation,” he said in a video, according to Sahara Media, a regional website. About 40 attackers participated in the raid, he said, roughly matching the government’s figures for fighters killed and captured.

Belmokhtar demanded an end to French air strikes against Islamist fighters in neighboring Mali. These began five days before the fighters swooped before dawn and seized a plant that produces 10 percent of Algeria’s natural gas exports.

U.S. and European officials doubt such a complex raid could have been organized quickly enough to have been conceived as a direct response to the French military intervention. However, the French action could have triggered an operation that had already been planned.

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

In a statement published by the Mauritania-based Nouakchott News Agency, the hostage takers said they had offered talks about freeing the captives, but the Algerian authorities had been determined to use military force.

“We opened the door for negotiations with the Westerners and the Algerians, and granted them safety from the beginning of the operation, but one of the senior (Algerian) intelligence officials confirmed to us in a phone call that they will destroy the place with everyone in it,” SITE quoted the statement as saying.

BLOODY SIEGE

The siege turned bloody on Thursday when the Algerian army opened fire, saying fighters were trying to escape with their prisoners. Survivors said Algerian forces blasted several trucks in a convoy carrying both hostages and their captors.

Nearly 700 Algerian workers and more than 100 foreigners escaped, mainly on Thursday when the fighters were driven from the residential barracks. Some captors remained holed up in the industrial complex until Saturday when they were overrun.

The bloodshed has strained Algeria’s relations with its Western allies, some of which have complained about being left in the dark while the decision to storm the compound was being taken.

Nevertheless, Britain and France both defended the military action by Algeria, the strongest military power in the Sahara and an ally the West needs in combating the militants.

Among other foreigners confirmed dead by their home countries were three Britons, one American and two Romanians. The missing include five Norwegians, three Britons and a British resident. An Algerian security source said at least one Frenchman was also among the dead.

The raid on the plant, which was home to expatriate workers from Britain’s BP, Norway’s Statoil, Japanese engineering firm BGC Corp and others, exposed the vulnerability of multinational oil operations in the Sahara.

However, Algeria is determined to press on with its energy industry. Oil Minister Youcef Yousfi visited the site and said physical damage was minor, state news service APSE reported. The plant would start up again in two days, he said.

Algeria, scarred by the civil war with Islamist insurgents in the 1990s which claimed 200,000 lives, insisted from the start of the crisis there would be no negotiation in the face of terrorism. France especially needs close cooperation from Algeria to crush Islamist rebels in northern Mali.

Much more here.

#MyJihad – “Canadians” reported amongst the terrorists in Algeria

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uh671ta8Jno

Published on Jan 21, 2013 by SDAMatt2a

http://www.sunnewsnetwork.ca/video

The Islamist militants [ CTV-speak for “terrorist” – Ed] who attacked an Algerian natural gas plant in the Sahara last week were well-organized, had insider information and their numbers included two Canadians, the country’s prime minister said Monday.

Abdelmalek Sellal claims that two Canadians were among the terrorists who attacked the plant Wednesday, taking hundreds hostage before a bloody siege ended the crisis over the weekend.

Ottawa has not been able to confirm reports that Canadians were involved in the four-day siege. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said Monday his department is investigating.

Algerian firemen carry a coffin containing a person killed during the gas facility hostage situation at the morgue in Ain Amenas, Algeria, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. At least 81 people have been reported dead, including 32 Islamist militants, after a bloody, four-day hostage situation at Algeria’s remote Ain Amenas natural gas plant.

“We can’t confirm the accuracy of these reports. But what we are doing, our embassy in Algiers and our team in Ottawa are working to try to verify these informations and get the names of these alleged Canadians. But we can’t report anything official at this time,” Baird told CTV News Channel.

The Algerian prime minister would not say whether the purported Canadians were killed when Algerian troops stormed the plant, or were among the three militants who were captured alive.

Speaking at a news conference Monday, Sellal said the militants came from Egypt, Canada, Mali, Niger, Mauritania and Tunisia, adding that Algerian forces killed 29 of the 32 militants when they stormed the facility.

According to the latest tally, 38 hostages were killed, including seven Japanese and three energy workers from the U.S. and three from the U.K. Five foreign workers are still unaccounted for.

The Algerian interior ministry had said earlier that forces were able to free “685 Algerian employees and 107 foreigners” after they stormed the plant. One permanent resident of Canada who was at the site is safe, and has reportedly departed Algeria.

Sellal’s account on Monday was the first official Algerian narrative of what happened during four days of terror at the plant, located roughly 1,200 kilometres from Algiers.
The standoff began Wednesday, and by the time Algerian troops stormed the facility on Saturday, dozens of people had been killed, though many of the bodies were so badly disfigured it was unclear how many of them belonged to hostages or militants.

Sellal said Monday only one of the attackers was Algerian — a man who served as a driver for the group. The rest of the attackers were foreigners, including a man from Niger who used to work at the plant and “knew the facility’s layout by heart.”

During the standoff, the militants had boasted that their group included members from Canada, said Paul Schemm, a reporter with The Associated Press based in Morocco.
One terrorism experts says no one should be surprised to hear of a Canadian citizen’s involvement in terrorist activities abroad.

“Canadian involvement in overseas terrorism has been growing,” John Thompson of the Toronto-based Mackenzie Institute told CTV’s Power Play.

When Foreign Affairs Canada hears about a Canadian getting killed in a terrorist attack, “they need to find out if he’s a victim or one of the perpetrators,” Thompson said.

Samantha Nutt, author and founder of War Child North America, said while it’s “conceivable” that a Canadian could have joined a terrorist network in North Africa, it’s still too early to tell if reports from Algeria are correct.

“We need to do due diligence here and try to see where the evidence takes us,” she told Power Play.


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