Algeria: August 23, 2003

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  No one in Germany or Mali are admitting anything about ransom, but it appears that the Algerian Islamic radicals got $5-16 million and that the cash came from either Germany or Libya. The Germans have steadfastly refused to pay ransom for their kidnapped citizens, feeling that this would encourage more such crimes. But only nine of the 14 European hostages were German and there was pressure to make a deal and get the captives out of there. Apparently money was paid, and the Germans are trying to discourage any ideas that this is a new German government policy. To make this point, there is talk of issuing international arrest warrants for the Algerians who kidnapped the Europeans. This would be a major shift for Europe, which has long provided sanctuary and support for the Algerian rebels. But the rebels are on the run in Algeria, support for Islamic radicals is very much in decline and this kidnapping incident went over the line (at least according to European public opinion.)

 

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