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Al-Qaeda Plans The Kidnap Of Westerners

The global terrorist group, Al-Qaeda, is planning a “wave of abductions” of Westerners in the Sahel, the Algerian secret service agency has said.

According to a report in Algeria’s most widely read newspaper, el-Khabar, the country’s secret service, the Department of Investigation and Security, has informed Algeria’s neighbours of the terrorist plans.

The Sahel region comprises Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Algeria, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea.

The secret agency, the newspaper reports, says the abductions are slated to be carried out by Mauritanian terrorists.

Algeria is home to the Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, a group that has been identified by security agencies as providing both logistics and training to the violent Islamic sect in the North-East, Boko Haram.

In a recent interview, a Boko Haram leader had admitted the link between the sect and Mauritania, saying that several of its bomb experts and foot soldiers received training in the country.  The leader had also said that some members of the group had just returned from Mauritania to launch new terrorist attacks.

Recently, the Algerian Deputy Foreign Minister, Abdelkader Messahel, had told journalists that his country had established a link between Boko Haram and the AIQM.

“We have no doubts that coordination exists between Boko Haram and al Qaeda. The way both groups operate and intelligence reports show that there is cooperation,” Messahel said.

Our correspondent reports that Western governments and intelligence agencies place a great premium on warnings from the Algerian intelligence agency because the North African country has one of the most effective counter-terrorism systems in the Sahel region.

Meanwhile, the Joint Task Force in charge of security in the restive Niger Delta has warned groups of aggrieved ex-militants against plans to breach the peace in the region.

Our correspondent reports that the Niger Delta is fast becoming a haven for new militant groups formed by ex-militants protesting their non-inclusion in the Federal Government’s post-amnesty rehabilitation programme.

Some of the new groups have threatened to launch a new campaign of pipeline sabotage and bombing of oil installations if government does not attend to their demands.

The JTF said on Tuesday that the threats of the ex-militants were becoming a source of worry, especially with the emergence of a new group of ex-militants under the name Third Phase Amnesty.

Another group which identified itself as 2nd Batch Extension Programme has also emerged in the region, vowing to disrupt the peace.

Spokesperson for the JTF, Lt. Col. Timothy Anthinga, on Tuesday warned the ex-militants to desist from plans to breach the peace in the region.

Antingha said, “The JTF will not be drawn into any discussion on the merit or demerit of the inclusion or exclusion of the protesting agitators from the rehabilitation process. The aspect of inclusion in the amnesty programme is within the province of the Amnesty Committee.

“However, the JTF wishes to advise the so-called 2nd or 3rd phase ex-militants to seek peaceful ways of achieving their objectives because the threat of violence being employed in this regard will most certainly not end in their favour.”

The aggrieved former fighters had on many occasions accused the Amnesty Office, headed by the Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Niger Delta Matters, Mr. Kingsley Kuku, of adopting a divide-and-rule approach in handling the programme.

Our correspondent learnt that the emergence of the latest group had unsettled security agencies in the region, especially the JTF, codenamed Operation Restore Hope, which has the mandate to forestall the breach of the peace in the area.

The group, numbering over 5,000, had on Saturday in Bomadi Local Government Area of Delta State issued a seven-day ultimatum to the government.

The ex-militants who were said to have been drawn from all the states in the region threatened to launch a fresh onslaught against oil installations if the government continued to exclude them from the amnesty project.

The group, at the town hall meeting which held in Esena Ebe School Hall, Bomadi, had concluded that the Federal Government was delaying their inclusion in the second batch.

The National Chairman of the group, ‘General’ Julius Joseph, in a statement by the group after the meeting, claimed that the government excluded them after collecting 70,000 arms and ammunition from members of the group.

He said the delay by the government to include them in the post-amnesty programme was dangerous as they had concluded plans to resume pipeline sabotage and illegal oil bunkering in the creeks.

“If our genuine processes discussed were adopted, all ex-militant groups could have been trained and absorbed by various companies, but because the government is insensitive to our plights, the youths are thinking of going back to the creeks,” Joseph said.

 



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