The French Foreign Ministry confirmed the kidnapping of a French citizen in the mountainous Tikjda region where he was on vacation in an area near Tizi Ouzou in eastern Algeria. The Foreign Ministry did not mention that the kidnappers were from al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which operates in the area, or another gang.
In a Monday statement, the French Foreign Ministry confirmed the kidnapping of a French citizen in the mountainous Tikjda region, located between the Tizi Ouzou and Bouira provinces (120 km east of Algiers), on Sunday evening as he was on vacation in the area.
The ministry confirmed that “a French citizen was kidnapped in the Tizi Ouzou region that he was visiting,” and that there had been no declaration of responsibility.
The ministry said that “all efforts are being made to find our citizen. The authorities have been mobilized and nothing is out of the question,” adding that “we are in constant contact with the Algerian authorities who are cooperating with us and supporting us fully.”
Security sources previously confirmed that the matter is related to a French tourist who was on a tour in the Tikjda region, the highest summit of of the Djurdjura mountain range.
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb operates in the area
Sources did not mention that that kidnappers were from al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which operates in the area, or if the issue was related to armed gangs that have previously kidnapped Algerian citizens for the purpose of demanding a ransom.
According to the “al-Hadath al-Djazaïri” news website, the victim “entered Algeria two days prior where him and his Algerian friends rented a chalet in Tikjda.”
The site added that, according to a high-level security source, the French citizen “went out last night for a tourist outing with his friends, when a terrorist group from Aït Ourban surprised them after confirmed that he was a French national. They kidnapped him a released the Algerians.”
Over the last ten years, approximately 80 people have been kidnapped to Tizi Ouzou, all of them Algerians. Most of them were released after a ransom was payed, while three were killed according to the press.
The most recent victim was a 19-year-old man who was found dead a week after being kidnapped in October 2012.
The three perpetrators were arrested and sentenced to death in November 2013 on charges of murder and kidnap for ransom.
In 2011, Algerian security forces arrested members of a criminal organization charged with being behind a number of kidnapping incidents in the Kabylie region.
The members of this gang were charged with belonging to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and placing fake security barriers in the Aghrib region, near Azeffoun.
Investigation revealed that the members of the gang were responsible for three kidnappings and the killing of a contractor who tried to escape his capture in 2010.
The had been no news of the kidnapping of a foreigner in the region prior to this incident, which comes hours after the Islamic State released a call to kill every citizen affiliated with the countries of the coalition (including France), which have formed to fight this group in Syria and Iraq.
Translated by Kevin Moore.
Original article available here.