ArchiveOODA OriginalRisk Intel Report

Algeria: Militants and Security

Highlights – Algerian forces kill senior al-Qaeda leader – Militant attacks kill soldiers and civilians – Africa’s Sahel states holding a security summit On February 15, 2009, Algerian media sources reported that a senior member of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AOIM) was killed by Algerian security forces, following a lead from a former militant. Mourad Bouzid had been hiding out in Issers, a small town approximately 55 kilometers east of the capital – he was found with the help of the local residents. The Algerian government’s amnesty program, offered to any militant who chooses to disarm, was a key element in the operation. The tip that lead to the location of Bouzid, 65, was obtained from a former high level member of AOIM, Abou Tamine, who turned himself in in January 2009. Similar amnesties over the past few years have resulted in the slow, yet steady, decline of power previously enjoyed by AOIM. Once a large insurgency that killed nearly 150,000 people during the 1990s, AOIM currently consists of only a few hundred hard-line militants operating out of the mountainous Kabylie region in Algeria. Militant Attacks Kill Soldiers and Civilians In the eastern Tebessa region, a bomb detonated that targeted an Algerian military patrol late on 15 February 2009. The attack killed four soldiers, wounding an additional five. According to Algerian media sources, the attack took place in Stah Kentess, a village 550 kilometers east of the capital. Roadside bombs also detonated near Tebessa, killing seven more people, including a woman and a child. In addition to the bombings, in the Bordjmenaiel district of Boumerdes, about 60 kilometers from Algiers, Islamist militants stopped a bus with a fake checkpoint. The militants were wearing military uniforms, and ordered all the passengers to exit the bus for a ‘routine’ security check. Three off duty soldiers were traveling on the bus in civilian clothing, and when they identified themselves as soldiers, the militants opened fire on them, killing all three. This recent bloodshed has shaken several months of relative calm in the country. A secular-inclined government has been battling with AOIM for several years, but the most recent activity comes following an announcement by current Algerian President, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, that he will run for another term in office during the coming elections. It is likely that that these attacks are an attempt by AOIM to show that they are still an active and viable force in the area. The Algerian government will continue to target the militants in the near to medium-term, doing everything it can to show a watching international community that it is capable of maintaining security within its borders, as well attempting to bring about a lasting stability. In addition to ongoing military targeting of AOIM and other groups, President Bouteflika has stated that the amnesty for militants who lay down their arms remains active. Africa’s Sahel States to Hold Security Summit Heads of state from the countries in Africa’s northern Sahel desert zone, including Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Algeria, Libya, and Chad, are planning to meet in Bamako on 19 February 2009 to discuss security concerns for the region. The Sahel region has been notoriously difficult to control, with many militant groups roaming about in its vast swaths of desert, crossing freely between countries. AOIM is known to operate in the area, and with the stated goal of unifying the armed Islamist groups throughout the region, will likely be a key discussion point during the upcoming security summit. Although summits like this are a positive sign, showing that the regional powers are aware of the threat posed

Want more insight?

This content is restricted to members only. Members get access to all of the content on this site. This includes over 3000 Risk Intel Reports, the Attack Database (10,000 entries), over 3000 Intel Advisories, Threat Group Profiles on 500+ groups and over 100,000 curated OSINT excerpts. Your membership also supports the cost of producing our hand-curated Daily OSINT report.

Please consider becoming a member. For more information please click here. Thanks!
OODA Analyst

OODA Analyst

OODA is comprised of a unique team of international experts capable of providing advanced intelligence and analysis, strategy and planning support, risk and threat management, training, decision support, crisis response, and security services to global corporations and governments.