Algeria: Crime Pays


May 5, 2010: Al Qaeda has apparently raised millions of dollars from ransoms for Europeans kidnapped in the desert near the south Algerian border. Two Italians were recently released, but two Spaniards are still being held. Governments will not admit to paying the large ransoms (as this is known to support the terrorist operations and encourage more kidnappings), but the money is being paid because of the intense political, popular and media pressure back home.

May 3, 2010:  Some 250 kilometers east of the capital, two roadside bombs left seven security guards and a soldier dead.

April 29, 2010: The Algerian driver for a kidnapped French tourist, was released in the Niger desert, near the Algerian border. The Frenchman is still be held, apparently for ransom.

April 27, 2010:  Algeria, Mali, Mauritania and Niger have formed a counter-terrorism forces, with headquarters in southern Algeria, near the town of Tamanrasset (2,000 kilometers south of the capital). Currently, the joint force has about 25,000 troops available, and this will expand to 75,000 in the next two years.

April 20, 2010:  A French tourist and his Algerian driver were kidnapped in northern Niger, near the Mali and Algerian border.

April 17, 2010: Islamic terrorists freed an elderly Algerian kidnap victim, when locals united to protest the crime. The area of the crime, about a hundred kilometers east of the capital, had long been full of al Qaeda sympathizers, but opposition has grown because the Islamic radicals have increasingly turned to crime to support themselves. This kidnapping took a particularly popular local businessman, and the Islamic terrorists soon realized that keeping the man would only further enrage the locals.





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