Algeria: Rebels Ravaged By Rumors


January 23, 2009: The terrorism rumor of the week concerns a dead body that was (so the unconfirmed story goes) found next to a road in rural Algeria. The man had died of Bubonic plague (a disease that has been endemic to rural North Africa for centuries, just as it is to parts of the American southwest and most of Africa and Asia). This led to reports from "unidentified American intelligence officials" that the dead guy was the victim of al Qaeda biological warfare experiments at a camp back in the forested hills of coastal Algeria. The most popular rumor had it that at least 40 al Qaeda died, and intercepted communications indicated local commanders were asking al Qaeda Supreme Headquarters in Pakistan for instructions on how to proceed. This story was first reported by a British Tabloid on the 19th, with no verifiable sources. It has since spread, with many other reporters adding embellishments. Plague is a bacterial infection, easily treated with antibiotics. There is no known cure for media events like this.

Back in the real world, the Islamic terrorists continue to disappear (desertions, and men accepting amnesty, rather than Bubonic plague) and there has not been much terrorist activity (that affects the public) at all. Security forces continue to search for the few hundred men believed to still be active Islamic terrorists.

January 22, 2009: Just across the border in Mali, 31 Tuareg rebels were hunted down and killed by soldiers and police. The rebels had recently been working for a drug gang, and attacking army and police units. The rebels have also worked with Algerian Islamic terrorists, usually for pay, or favors.

January 16, 2009: About 150 kilometers west of the capital, ten Islamic terrorists set up a roadblock on the coastal highway. They sought to identify and kill government employees, but only ended up encountering and killing a customs officer.

January 10, 2009: In the capital, unauthorized demonstrations by over 30,000 people in support of Hamas terrorism against Israel (and against the Israeli response) turned into anti-government riots. Over 60 people were injured (most of them civilians), in addition to hundreds of arrested.  Most of the demonstrators were unemployed young men. In Algeria, most young men are unemployed, and have been for some time.

January 9, 2009: A Moroccan Islamic terrorist, Hicham Alamis, who was among nine terrorists that escaped from prison last April, was recaptured in Algeria and returned to Morocco.


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