RealNews

Sahara kidnap theory gains ground

There is hope that 31 tourists missing in Algeria are alive, German and Austrian ministers have said, amid mounting speculation that the travellers have been kidnapped. The tourists – including 15 Germans and 10 Austrians – have all vanished on trips to the Sahara desert since early February. The theory that they have been kidnapped has gained ground, says the BBC’s Mohamed Arezki Himeur in Algiers. The Dutch Government has reportedly confirmed that one its citizens, also missing in Algeria, has been kidnapped. “We have confirmation that Dutchman Arjen Hilbers has been kidnapped,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hendrik Dek was quoted as saying by French news agency AFP. “We are not commenting on the matter in the interests of the inquiry and the safety of those who have been kidnapped,” he added. Media reports in Algeria have suggested that militant groups linked to Osama Bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network could be behind the disappearances. Attention has focused on militant Islamist leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar, who operates in the region. No ransom demands are believed to have been received. Full Story

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