Tag Archives: Algiers

Algeria : Al Qaeda kills 14 soldiers in mountains

al-Qaida

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb

ALGIERS (Reuters) – Islamist militants killed at least 14 Algerian soldiers in an ambush in mountains east of the capital Algiers at the weekend in one of the deadliest attacks on the military in years.

The troops were in the Tizi Ouzou region, 120 km (75 miles) east of Algiers, when they were attacked by al Qaeda‘s north African branch, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), state news agency APS and a security source said on Sunday.

The attack on Saturday night came just days after President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, was re-elected for a fourth term following a campaign that portrayed the ageing leader as the key to continued security for the North African OPEC state.

Since the end of its 1990s war with armed Islamists, attacks have been rarer in Algeria. But Algerian officials are concerned about spillover from the turmoil in neighbouring Libya, where fighters linked to al Qaeda take refuge in the southern deserts.

“On their way back from securing the presidential election, the unit… came under attack,” the defence ministry said in a statement posted by APS. Three militants were also killed.

Algerian security specialist Rahmani Anis told Reuters: “This attack is a response to setbacks for AQIM, which lost several of its militants in recent months. AQIM tried also to disrupt the election but it failed,”

AQIM is mostly based in the Sahel area which crosses southern Algeria. The army has killed 37 militants since January, according to the ministry, including several in the eastern mountains. Security sources say some have been found with weapons traced to Libya.

WANTED LEADERS

One of those believed to be hiding in the east is Abdelmalek Droukdel, a former chemistry student who become AQIM leader after fighting in Afghanistan.

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Algerian forces last year killed two of Droukdel’s deputies in Bouira, a former stronghold of militants during the 1990s civil war.

In January last year, militants raided Algeria’s Amenas gas plant near Libya’s border, killing 40 oil contractors, most of them foreigners, in an attack that prompted British-based BP and Norway’s Statoil to pull their workers out.

That attack was led by Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a veteran Algerian militant and former al Qaeda fighter whom the French have dubbed “The Uncatchable”. He was reported killed last year though recent reports say he may still be alive.

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Breaking News – Bouteflika wins fourth Algerian presidential term with 81.53 % of votes, interior ministry says

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Bouteflika wins fourth Algerian presidential term with 81.53 % of votes,  Interior Minister Tayeb Belaiz told a news conference on Friday.

The main opposition candidate, Ali Benflis, garnered 12.18 per cent of the vote. Official figures for voter turnout were 51.7 percent.

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Algeria’s Bouteflika poised to win re-election

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With the dominant National Liberation Front (FLN) party, allied movements and unions behind him, many Algerians believe Bouteflika, 77, is almost assured of victory and another five years governing the North African OPEC state.

Algeria is seen as a partner in Washington‘s campaign against Islamist militancy in the Maghreb and a stable supplier of around a fifth of Europe’s gas imports.

“No country is 100 percent good, but the things he has done, he has done well,” said Abdessaid Said, a retired technician who voted for Bouteflika in AlgiersBab El Oued district.

“I know he is ill, but I vote for him for what he has done for us. And he can still govern.”

Loyalists portray Bouteflika as the man who helped stabilize Algeria after a war with Islamist militants in the 1990s that killed around 200,000 people.

Bouteflika, a veteran of Algeria’s war of independence, won the 2009 election with 90 percent of the vote.

Police on Wednesday broke up a small rally by an anti-government movement called “Barakat”, or “Enough”, which is calling for peaceful change with rare public protests.

The outcome of the vote is being closely watched by Western governments as Algeria is seen as a partner in Washington’s campaign against Islamist militancy in North Africa and as a stable gas supplier to Europe.

Results are expected at the earliest on Friday (April 18).

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Algeria’s Bouteflika nominated for 4th term .

Algeria‘s 76-year-old President Abdelaziz Bouteflika was on Saturday designated his party’s candidate for president in the 2014 election, the National Liberation Front (FLN) said.

“The central committee has chosen the president of the party, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, to be the FLN candidate in the next presidential election,” said a party statement issued after a meeting in the capital.