Dozens held after Islamists attack gas field

Comment on this story
iol news pic Algeria gas field attack Reuters A road sign indicating In Amenas, about 100 km (60 miles) from the Algerian and Libyan border, is seen in this undated picture provided by Norwegian oil company Statoil January 16, 2013. Islamist militants attacked a gas field in Algeria on Wednesday, claiming to have kidnapped up to 41 foreigners including seven Americans during a dawn raid. The In Amenas gas field is operated by a joint venture including BP, Norwegian oil firm Statoil and Algerian state company Sonatrach. REUTERS/Kjetil Alsvik / Statoil/Handout

Algiers - Islamist militants attacked a gas field in Algeria on Wednesday, claiming to have kidnapped up to 41 foreigners including seven Americans in a dawn raid in retaliation for France's intervention in Mali, according to regional media reports.

The raiders were also reported to have killed three people, including a Briton and a French national.

An al Qaeda affiliated group said the raid had been carried out because of Algeria's decision to allow France to use its air space for attacks against Islamists in Mali, where French forces have been in action against al Qaeda-linked militants since last week.

The attack in southern Algeria also raised fears that the French action in Mali could prompt further Islamist revenge attacks on Western targets in Africa, where al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) operates across borders in the Sahara desert, and in Europe.

AQIM said it had carried out Wednesday's raid on the In Amenas gas facility in Algeria, Mauritania's ANI news agency reported.

The Algerian interior ministry said: “A terrorist group, heavily armed and using three vehicles, launched an attack this Wednesday at 5 a.m. against a Sonatrach base in Tigantourine, near In Amenas, about 100 km (60 miles) from the Algerian and Libyan border.”

The gas field is operated by a joint venture including BP , Norwegian oil firm Statoil and Algerian state company Sonatrach.

BP said armed men were still occupying facilities at the gas field.

“The site was attacked and occupied by a group of unidentified armed people at about 0500 UK time. Contact with the site is extremely difficult, but we understand that armed individuals are still occupying the In Amenas operations site,” it said.

Algeria's official APS news agency said a Briton and an Algerian security guard had been killed and seven people were injured including two foreigners. A French national was also killed in the attack, a local source said.

Also among those reported kidnapped by various sources were five Japanese nationals working for the Japanese engineering firm JGC Corp, a French national, an Irishman, a Norwegian and a number of Britons. - Reuters


sign up
 
 

Comment Guidelines



  1. Please read our comment guidelines.
  2. Login and register, if you haven’ t already.
  3. Write your comment in the block below and click (Post As)
  4. Has a comment offended you? Hover your mouse over the comment and wait until a small triangle appears on the right-hand side. Click triangle () and select "Flag as inappropriate". Our moderators will take action if need be.