In Amenas massacre: Like jihadis, Algerian forces shoot to kill
IN Algeria, all the 32 terrorists are dead. Also dead are 23 hostages, of which six were British. One Briton was murdered in cold blood. Well, so says the Algerian military, which affects the language of cool, calm precision but just wanted all the terrorists dead. Algeria’s Interior Ministry said in a statement:
“To avoid a bloody turn of events in response to the extreme danger of the situation, the army’s special forces launched an intervention with efficiency and professionalism to neutralise the terrorist groups that were first trying to flee with the hostages and then blow up the gas facilities.”
The facts are sketchy.
The Telegraph has insight:
It was mid-morning yesterday when Algeria’s special forces – known as “the Ninjas” – launched their final, fatal assault .. The Algerian military had already proved itself trigger-happy when 48 hours earlier – and without the knowledge of Britain or any other Western government – army helicopters had opened fire on a fleet of 4x4s speeding through the Tigantourine gas facility, killing terrorists and hostages indiscriminately.
Algeria’s El Watan is supportive of its military. Says one writer:
Despite the casualties, the worst has been avoided.
Readers comments on the killings are not exactly critical of the Algerians:
Long live the ANP - 5-6 September 1972: Germany: 9 of 11 hostages were killed in shootings triggered by the German police. – November 6-7, 1985: Colombia: a hundred dead in the assault forces … more
smart31 - despite the critical reaction and thus the strange family victim must not forget in just a short time he rescued the hostages they are risking their lives for others … not to mention the following
Xaminador - The outcome was certainly very unfortunate, but it could be worse and we got off our best thanks to an efficient management of the crisis.
mousquito- BRAVO. Algerians have the monitor their site themselves instead of trusting BP. Algerian army has done the right thing. Bravo!
Hey the - Congratulations to the unit that carried out the operation. Courageous political decision that sends clear messages to all concerned: the terrorists and especially to Westerners who have always believed that the blood … more
kitoduvivier - Congratulations to the troops Gis not fallen into the trap set by these scoundrels Islamists. In all cases, you must monitor the borders and put a stop to trafficking … final result
One source, known only as Chabane, says the executed Britons was used as bait:
“They threatened him until he called out in English to his friends, telling them, ‘Come out, come out. They’re not going to kill you. They’re looking for the Americans.’ A few minutes later, they blew him away.”
Reactions have been bloody to the fighting at the BP gas plant at In Amenas in the Algerian Sahara. The plant is jointly operated by BP, Norwegian company Statoil and Algerian state oil company Sonatrach. Islamist held captives 107 foreign and 685 local employees.
Says David Cameron:
“We now fear the worst for the lives of [the] five others. I know that the whole country shares my sympathy and concern for everyone who has been caught up in this incident and for their friends and families. It is our priority now to get people home as quickly as possible and to look after the survivors.”
One of the jihadis is Abdul Rahman al-Nigeri. He said in a recent video:
“I swear to God that we will blow up all the hostages and blow ourselves up too if the Algerian security forces get close to us. Allahu akbar.”
The Al-Qaeda-styled jihadis are known as Those Who Sign Their Names in Blood. The group’s leader is Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a one-eyed jihadist known as “Mr Marlboro” for his cigarette smuggling.
Al Arabiya gives a reason for the attack:
Al-Qaeda-linked militants, who kidnapped hundreds of workers at a gas plant in the Algerian desert, said they were after “crusaders” and not Algerian nationals, one of the released hostages told Al Arabiya in an interview on Saturday. The freed Algerian hostage also said that Algerians were treated better than foreigners as they were allowed to use their phones and were promised that they will be released shortly.
“We [Algerians] did what we wanted, they did not tell us to switch off our cellphones, or interrogated us. They told us to sit down and that they were not after Algerians but after what they called crusaders,” the former hostage said.
The Qaeda-linked militants, who were angry at French intervention in Mali, wanted to send a clear message: they could strike anywhere in the Sahara including terrorizing hundreds of foreigners from different backgrounds in Algeria.
The Times adds:
A British man, believed to be a convert in his late twenties with blond hair and blue eyes, is said to have joined Belmokhtar’s group last year and was spotted visiting wounded jihadists at a hospital in Gao, southeast Mali.
Ahmedou Mouhamed El Moustapha, an editor at the Mauritanian newspaper Alakhbar, said the British convert told him he had come “to defend his religion against the attacks from the West”.
If you were a jihadi, and blonde Westerner came to join you, would you let them? Would you trust them?
A second British jihadist, a Londoner, was captured by the Mauritanian authorities last month as he tried to cross into Mali.
Henry Samuel wrote in the Telegraph:
A terrorist with “perfect English” was among those involved in the Algerian hostage crisis in which at least two Britons and perhaps many more are feared dead, it has emerged.
An Algerian hostage who escaped told French newspaper Le Monde that one of the Al-Qaeda-linked militants spoke English perfectly, and was among a multi-national group who seemed well acquainted with the BP gas plant in the southeast of the North African country.
“They searched the living quarters for foreigners and told Muslims that they were in no danger,” said the man, adding that the kidnappers emphasised that “Christians and Infidels’ were the main targets.”
What of the Libyan connection?
Libyan authorities have been aware for some time of the existence of three militant camps south of the desert town of Sabha, not far from the Algerian border, a regional security source told CNN.
The source said the leader of one of those camps was a Libyan veteran of the 1980s Afghan war.
The SAS was in Libya when Gaddafi was toppled. Did they stay there?