Civil defence units have registered more than 150 fires during the last two days in a number of northern provinces in Algeria, during an intense heat wave affecting most of the provinces, most notably Blida, Tizi Ouzo, Béjaïa, Boumerdès, Skikda, and El Taref.
Assistant Director of Statistics and Information, Colonel Ashour Farouk, said in a statement for Algerian radio on Thursday that the fires are affecting forests in the mountains, jungle and agricultural crops, especially fig and olive trees, and grape vines. He added that the fires have burned more than 888 hectares of forest in the past 24 hours. He revealed that in the period between 1 June and 26 July, a total of 1028 fires were reported, resulting in the destruction of 2423 forested areas, 2682 hectares of jungle, 1347 hectares of agricultural crops and more than 118,000 fruit-bearing trees. The spokesperson attributed the cause of these fires to “the high temperatures and wind speed” which greatly contributed to the outbreak of the fires, and their rapid advancement, which has forced the civil defence and the security forces to cooperate, under the command of Algerian army forces, to rescue the lands from the flames.
The Algerian civil defence has called on civilians to “adhere to preventative rules to avoid sun stroke, due to the high temperatures expected in coming days”, with forecasters predicting a significant increase in temperature.
Doctors have issued instructions to avoid exposure to sun rays, especially for children, the elderly, and people with chronic illnesses, stay in shade as much as possible, avoid journeys unless when absolutely necessary, and to only go out in the early morning or late evening, particularly in the inland provinces.
Specialists also stressed the importance of drinking water regularly, especially children and the elderly, and not to wait for thirst to strike.
It is worth mentioning that Algeria witnessed dozens of fires across a number of provinces in the month of July, resulting in the destruction of thousands of hectares of agricultural land and elimination of animal resources, especially in Tizi Oubo, Boumerdès, and Jijel, while the Algerian government pledged to provide material compensation to those afflicted.
The heat in Algeria has also caused the repeated interruption of power lines, because of the widespread consumption of electricity for air conditioning and cooling devices, which prompted the Algerian Electrical and Gas Company to issue guidelines to citizens on reasonable consumption.
Translated by Conor Fagan
Original article can be found here.
The Algerian national team may have lost its chance to advance beyond the first round of the 2017 African Cup of Nations, after a defeat to their Tunisian counterparts in the second stage of Group B, played in the Stade de Franceville in Gabon on Thursday.
Despite clear control by ‘The Greens’ in the first half, creating a number of chances to score by Slimani, Mahrez, Guedioura, and Brahimi, the Tunisian goalkeeper Aymen Mathlouthi was on top form, and made some challenging saves, resulting in a goalless draw between the two teams at half-time.
The second half was different, and showed a marked parity between the teams, and the Tunisians exploited mistakes in the Algerian defence to score two goals. The first was knocked by Mandi into his own net after a cross from Msakni. The second goal came when Ghoulam made a fatal error in returning the ball to goalkeeper Asselah, and lost possession. A follw-up tackle by the Naples player was exploited by Wahbi Khazri to get a penalty, which was scored by Naim Sliti.
The reaction by the ‘Brothers of Mahrez’ was not strong, apart from a chance by Slimani in the eightieth minute, which was deflected for a corner, and when Hanni reduced the gap in the ninetieth minute.
The match ends with the superior ‘Carthage Eagles’ boosting their hopes of reaching the second round, while the mission for the national team to continue this African journey has become nearly impossible.
Translated by Conor Fagan
View the original article here.
The influence of ISIS is gradually expanding from its stronghold in the Syrian city of Raqqa to extremist groups which have taken North Africa as their headquarters.
Red: Areas of ISIS influence (estimate)
- Egypt: Ansar Beit al-Maqdis – formed in 2011, it is made up of 2,000 fighters; after announcing it joined ISIS in November, it is now known as Wilayat Sina’ (Sinai Province)
- Eastern Libya: Extremists in the coastal city of Derna – population 80,000 – announced their alliance with and allegiance to ISIS and the establishment of Wilayat Barqa (Cyrenaica Proince) in October
- Tripoli: Since August, the Libyan capital has fallen under the control of the Libya Dawn extremist militia, designated as a terrorist organisation; Mitiga International Airport is used as the centre for thousands of fighters from Europe and Africa seeking to join the fighters in Syria
- Tunisia: Birthplace of the Arab Spring, source of the largest number of foreign fighters joining ISIS and al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra, estimated at about 3,000 fighters; the cause is believed to be their resentment with the political process in Tunisia
- Algeria: Extremist group Soldiers of the Caliphate in Algeria allied itself with ISIS in September after breaking off from al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb
- Morocco: The terrorist organisation affiliated with al-Qaeda calling itself Salafiyya Jihadiyya may have influenced the recent announcement of loyalty to ISIS by Moroccan fighters in Syria
Translated by Kevin Moore.
The Moroccan Foreign Ministry summoned the Algerian ambassador in Rabat in protest for an Algerian soldier firing along the shared border between the two countries at Moroccan citizens, leading to one injury. Algeria demanded “clarifications” on the issue of the incident, which it described as serious.
The Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (Salaheddine Mezouar) announced the call for the Algerian ambassador to officially inform him of Morocco’s protest to the incident; however, the Algerian diplomat – according to the Moroccan online newspaper “Hibapress” – denied knowledge of the shooting incident and Mezouar communicated the kingdom’s protest against the incident in a recording, noting “the Moroccan government’s great displeasure and concern toward the serious incident.”
According to the Moroccan Foreign Ministry’s statement, a 28-year-old Moroccan was injured in his face following gunfire from a member of the Algerian army upon a dozen Moroccan civilians along the Morocco-Algeria border at Beni Khaled. The Moroccan citizen is in critical condition.
The statement said that the government “strongly protests” this “irresponsible and unjustified” action, which adds to other provocative practices along the border,” calling on Algeria to take responsibility and provide the necessary clarifications to the Moroccan authorities regarding the incident.
*Note: Makhzen refers to the Moroccan ruling elite, with the king at its centre
Translated by Kevin Moore.
Original article available here.
The Middle East region has recently witnessed a number of drastic changes related to extremist terrorist groups. Last week, an organisation called “Jund al-Khilafah” (Soldiers of the Caliphate) emerged in Algeria and carried out the execution of a French hostage after announcing their allegiance to “Daesh” (the Arabic equivalent to the acronym ISIS). This event raised fears about the spread of this organisation in North Africa, especially since other groups that have pledged allegiance to ISIS have appeared recently in the Maghreb.
A number of experts have spoken about the dangers of these organisations and the growth of their influence in the region. Ambassador Sayyid Abu Zayd, assistant to the former Foreign Minister, said that the organisation known as Jund al-Khilafah, which recently appeared in Algeria, its not far from the organisations that claim to raise the banner of religion and use it as a cover to carry out their crimes. He stressed that Islam is not a part of these organisations, which analyse it as they please and forbid what they want.
Abu Zayd explained to El Badil that the emergence of groups pledging allegiance to ISIS in Algeria is not surprising, for in every Middle Eastern and African country, these armed groups rely on provoking the feelings of youths by luring them and convincing them that they are following the true belief in order for them to join them in carrying out terrorist attacks and bombings without thinking, with the aim of achieving specific goals, whether political or spreading chaos and instability in the region. He stressed that there are children in these groups who have been trained at the hands of terrorists from a young age to carry out major attacks and bombings in the region.
The former diplomat stressed that the Egyptian view is correct, in that the world is confronting international terrorism, not represented only in certain organisations like ISIS, but rather we are confronting terrorism that threatens the entire world and will sooner or later reach the borders of countries that are fighting it, and from there regional and international areas.
Abu Zayd added that the emergence of videos showing the execution of European hostages by ISIS is meant to terrorise citizens of countries participating in the regional coalition so that pressure can be placed on governments to distance themselves from participation, as well as maintain fear for the safety of other imprisoned citizens. However, the opposite has happened, the tables have been turned, and the cautious states are participating and gathering together to carry out attacks and pre-emptive strikes on this organisation, fearful of the spread and threat of their interests.
For his part, Ambassador Raouf Sa’ad, former Egyptian ambassador to Russia and assistant to the former Foreign Minister, said that the multiplicity of terrorist organisations in the region and some of them pledging allegiance of ISIS demonstrations has a positive and a negative side. He stressed that the negative side is a result of the fluid condition and chaos which have prevailed in the Arab world. This atmosphere was ideal for extremist groups, and we see a new wave of non-traditional terrorism.
Raouf Sa’ad added that the danger in this case is that we cans see that the nature of groups that join these terrorism groups are not the traditional groups that joined them previously, like the poor and the like. Instead they are from the middle-class, distinguished by their social participation in social networking. Additionally, these organisations finance themselves by controlling oil fields and resource-rich areas. Subsequently there are highly trained and well-financed terrorist organisations.
In the same context Ambassador Rakha Ahmed Hassan, former assistant to the Foreign Minister, said that the emergence of other organisations in the region like Jund al-Khilafah in Algeria is not surprising. By looking at the origins of all of these terrorist organisations, including ISIS in Iraq, we notice that they were a branch of al-Qaeda in Iraq but for reasons related to political or ideological differences an organisation rebels against us with a new name, but under one set of principles and with one approach represented in al-Qaeda’s takfiri ideology. Rakha stressed that regional changes effects the naming of these organisations.
Rakha added that what is important is not the names, so much as our recognising the goals that they hope to achieve, and the heinous crimes they commit on a daily basis against civilians and non-combatants. He stressed that in every country, particularly in the Middle East region, you will find a group that supports this radical ideology, citing the so-called “Beit al-Maqdis” group in Egypt, “Ansar al-Shari’a” in Libya, “Jabhat al-Nusra” in Lebanon and Syria. He stressed that these groups were established under the noses of the American administration in order to spread chaos and instability in the region.
Translated by Kevin Moore.
Original article available here.
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.
An Algerian diplomat expects that newly elected Egyptian president Abdel Fatah al-Sisi will visit Algeria in the near future because of its regional and international importance. Sisi was elected at the end of May after orchestrating the overthrow of Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi in July 2013 and has initiated a “war on terrorism” targeting Islamist groups in the country. Sisi caused a stir earlier this year when he stated that the Egyptian army could invade Algeria in three days. The comment sparked confusion in Algeria. Continue reading
Algeria is prepared to carry out its humanitarian duty to African refugees in its territory, according to the head of the Algerian Red Crescent, who also criticized European policies in dealing with refugees. Continue reading
The recently formed “Youth Movement for Change” has declared the creation of its military wing in order to defend itself against attempts by the Polisario to disband the group. The movement, established in the past few months in the Tindouf camps in southern Algeria for Saharwi refugees, is calling for Polisario’s leadership to make way for younger members in light of rampant corruption.
Moroccan daily newspaper Alittihad has reported that Iran is attempting to spread the influence of Shi’a Islam to North Africa, using Lebanese communities in Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon and Sierra Leone to financially support Shi’as in Maghreb states. Continue reading