(Translated from Jeune Afrique//1/17/2013//0000PST)
SAHARA DESERT--A terrorist attack by jihadists aimed, on the night of Tuesday 15 to Wednesday 16 January, based on the site of gas Amenas in southeast Algeria. The kidnappers holding 41 foreign hostages inside the base. They are surrounded by the Algerian army. A heavily armed Islamist group attacked, Wednesday, January 16, around 5:00 am, the basic site of gas Amenas (southeast), operated by the consortium Sonatrach-BP. The assault was perpetrated by dozens of jihadists arrived unmarked vehicles in the morning.
According to a statement from the Algerian Ministry of the Interior, "the attack initially focused on a bus that left the base Tiguentourine carrying foreigners to the airport Amenas." Algerian and British were killed and six injured in the first attack. According to the Algerian authorities, the terrorist group was then "directed to the base life which he has invested part is taken hostage and an undetermined number of workers, including foreign nationals."
Be included among the expatriate French, Americans, British, Norwegian and Japanese, working for companies including British Petroleum (Great Britain), Statoil (Norway) and Japan Gas Corporation (JGC), partners Sonatrach on Amenas site. The kidnappers, cited by the agency Mauritanian ANI, say, them hold 41 Westerners and did not specify the number of Algerians who could be among the hostages. Some of these terrorists, many Algerians are from the Al-katiba Mouthalimine ("The signatories of the blood"), led by Moktar Belmokhtar, a former lieutenant of AQIM in the Sahel. Scrambled for months with the direction of the terrorist movement, the "Blind" was announced in late November that he launched his own jihadist movement. Its katiba, always claiming Al-Qaeda operates mainly in the north-eastern Mali and southern Algeria.
A member of the commando Amenas has also stated that they had acted from northern Mali. According to the spokesman of the group, this operation, called Al-Mauritani, the name of a deceased veteran, has been carefully prepared in advance. It was initiated in response to Algiers to support ongoing military operation against radical Islamists in northern Mali. Sunday, Algeria announced that French planes allowed to overfly its territory.
On site, the Algerian military surrounded the base. The area is also flown by army helicopters. In the late afternoon, the kidnappers released small groups of Algerian hostages. They are now demanding the release of 100 prisoners Islamists in Algeria before releasing more. They also asked twenty 4x4 with full tanks in order to return to Mali, as well as water supply and food. According to the NNA, captors ensure that any attempt to free the hostages would lead to a "tragic end". Jihadists are also equipped with explosives.
According to a witness interviewed by Le Figaro, they had "undermined the base." The Algerian Interior Minister Daho Ould Kablia, said Wednesday night that the Algerian authorities "refused any negotiations with the terrorists."
Benjamin Roger (@benja_roger)
MALIJET REPORT: (1/7/2013//1900PST)
50 Vehicles in the Raid
He left the north by Niger Mali at the beginning of the French attack, crossed the Ténéré quickly rebounded and Algeria, along the Libyan border. He came by surprise on a site 1,700 km of its starting point, without ever being detected. Only God can do such a thing in the Sahara. "
The number of pick-up involved in the operation also carries the signature of a great leader of AQIM and not a small local group, as was the case in the removal of Wali Illizi missed it there's a year. Algerian authorities remain silent on the column from the attackers. Six months after the hostage consular staff Gao, and 18 months after the Sahrawi camp in Tindouf, this is definitely spectacular terrorist operation exposed the porous borders, oil facilities insecurity and incompetence services Algerian security.