Islamists want €30m

2012-03-04 14:28

Gao - An al-Qaeda splinter group wants €30m to free three European aid workers kidnapped in Algeria in October, a Malian source close to the mediators said on Saturday.

"The Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa is demanding 30 million euros to free two Spanish nationals and the Italian woman," the source said.

The kidnapping of two Spanish nationals and an Italian woman was staged in Tindouf, western Algeria, in a refugee camp run by the Polisario Front which seeks Western Sahara's independence from Morocco.

The Front had initially blamed the kidnapping on al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

But on December 12, a video showing armed men flanking two women - one Spanish and the other Italian - and a Spanish man was made public by the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa.

The splinter group is lead by Malians and Mauritanians, according to experts.

Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo was on Saturday returning from the Malian capital Bamako after talks with Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure and other officials about the hostage issue, his office said.

Security sources say the Movement for Oneness had broken off from al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in order to spread jihad to West Africa and not confine themselves to the north African Maghreb or Sahel regions.

The group also released another video showing six dark-skinned, turban-wearing men speaking of their ideological references, including al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Omar but putting more emphasis on historical figures of west African Islam.

The group on Saturday claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on a police base in southern Algeria which left 23 people wounded according to the paramilitary gendarmerie. One of them was in serious condition.

  • phathuchicos - 2012-03-04 15:04

    God'damn those first world citizens who don't give up their voyage to third world whereas they kno whats in store for them and misery they dish up for their loved ones...

      lindz.kok - 2012-03-04 15:50

      wtf!? humanitarians they are humanitatians not holiday makers.

  • Jean - 2012-03-04 15:15

    Leave these countries, let them suffer, other countries are putting their own people's lives at risk for countries that are always against west interference!

      goyougoodthing - 2012-03-04 16:25


      Fred - 2012-03-04 17:26

      You're both heartless.

      goyougoodthing - 2012-03-04 18:50

      Fred, where do we draw the line? These self-same countries hate the 'west' and yet bleed for aid. In this particular situation, the aid workers feel they are doing the right thing, and being held hostage is sad, sure, but why does the west feel it needs to fix the world?

  • louis.langenhoven - 2012-03-04 16:18

    Islamists want €30m the only words that comes to mind is...F-them. Send in the Navy Seals, The SAS, The Special Taskforce or whoever you like and go and get those hostages and kill the hell out of those mothers.

      goyougoodthing - 2012-03-04 16:25

      hmm, seems to me the hostages were poking their nose into things in a foreign country. Rather just let them be, and stay away from the failed states.

      Fred - 2012-03-04 17:31

      More heartlessness goyougoodthing, and a faulty jumping to conclusions. They're aid workers.

  • Paul - 2012-03-04 18:26

    I can just imagine the Al-Qaeda leadership plotting, sounding something like this. "What are we going to do tomorrow, Brain?" "The same thing we do everyday Pinky... try to take over the world."

      Mark - 2012-03-04 20:57

      Soooo... you're a pastor I see. Irony at play here?

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