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Sahara Travel Forum Topics specific to North Africa and the Sahara down to the 17th parallel (excludes Morocco)
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  #31  
Old 2 Nov 2003
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After reading an article from 1.11. in the DZ newspaper El Watan it seems that the kidnapping was more succesfull then I estimated. The risk of terrorist activity against tourists (but not limited to) in the whole central Sahara from Mauritania to Niger and Libya bigger then I mentioned above - and I seriously considder postphoning my trekking trip to DZ planed for this winter.
With the money from the ransom the group of 84 terrorists who once left Algeria to Mali is said to have grown to about 200 men, with their head quarter in the Gorges de Tekace abour 300km from Taoudeni (does anybody know this location?).

A link to the article and an international press abstract:


http://www.elwatan.com/journal/html/...1/sup_html.htm

"Al-Qaida is building secret bases in the Sahara in north Africa with the help of Algerian extremists, Western and Arab intelligence sources said Monday. The Spanish daily Periodico De Catalonia quoted the sources as saying the Sahara, stretching between Mauritania and southern Libya, has become a base for al-Qaida. "We know that many things were taking place in the Sahara which is under the loose control of the Algerian and Libyan armies and the armed forces of weak countries like Niger, Mauritania and Mali," a U.S. diplomat said."


Yves

[This message has been edited by Yves (edited 02 November 2003).]

[This message has been edited by Yves (edited 02 November 2003).]
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  #32  
Old 3 Nov 2003
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That's a very big area for 200 men to terrorise. Don't you think the chances of meeting them are very low?
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  #33  
Old 3 Nov 2003
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Quote:
Originally posted by nick_horley:
That's a very big area for 200 men to terrorise. Don't you think the chances of meeting them are very low?
It depends whether they are looking for you or not, there are lots of spots were tourist pass with a very high probability.

Yves
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  #34  
Old 3 Nov 2003
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I appreciate Al Q need new bases now that Afghaistan is out, but like I suggested somewhere before here - for the moment at least they are in countries whose govts (maybe not people) are hostile to their presence which must limit their mobility, and as we know, the local contrabanders wont didnt them bringing heat on the area either (although they could come to an arrangement with AL Q)
I dont feel they are based in the Sahara to terrorise tourists (what few there will be) but because it is a remote area where they can to their 'training' and whatever..
While they might nick the odd passing TLC, that's nothing new, but another hostage stunt would really get up peoples' noses,even if the money is potentially great.

It is the Sahara after all, now less safe than it was recently, but where isn't?

Ch

If their Gorges de Tekace HQ is for real I cant believe they are not going to get 'Tora Bora'd' one of these days...
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  #35  
Old 3 Nov 2003
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Hi Chris,

>I dont feel they are based in the Sahara to terrorise tourists

I agree. Goal 1 - money - had probably been achieved kidnapping tourists.
I think that now they prosecute other, their genuine, goals but wouldn't exclude "colateral damage" to tourists.

This subject is highly speculative, so please don't take my writing as absolut, more as a contribution to a kind of brain storming assessing the situation.

Yves
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  #36  
Old 3 Nov 2003
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To Nick Horley

Entrance in Algeria - for tourists - from Ghat border _ The only one possible as also Ghadames is closed- has been always difficult and submitted to previous ok from authorities since years -

The way - Ghat Djanet easy and short - is infact mainly used by militaries and it is under their rigid control (Both countries) .

Cannot say more as I did always with official permit and as resident in Libya .My perso suggestion is to get first the permit
from both DZ and LY as the is to get stuck is high.
cheers
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  #37  
Old 3 Nov 2003
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Thanks Budrinna. Ghat it is!
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  #38  
Old 5 Nov 2003
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I had roughly been informed from sources in Algeria, that a new regulation for tourists traveling individualy by car/bike is out.

Basically it is said to be the old regulation from the 60's to late 80's based on pistes categories A, B1, B2, and C.

C will only be allowed with 2 vehicles and a guide.

Permit necessary for pistes B to C, no fuel without permit.

Without permit: judgement and expensive penalties.

Hope to get more details / official infos soon.

Yves
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  #39  
Old 5 Nov 2003
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That makes sense to revert to the old system which I think they let slip. Do you think we can we assume that the A-C piste classifications are the same as they were (in the Eckert/Du Mont book)?

Ch
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  #40  
Old 5 Nov 2003
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I'm not familiar with the old system, so can you tell me how this affects the visa application procedure? Do you have to put all the pistes you want to use on your itinerary?
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  #41  
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To Yves : I believe you but how I can be SURE that these infos are official ones ?
To Chris : I don't know this book ; I have a french book (guide of Sahara;Hachette;written by 3 travellers where this classification is described from 1979 to 2000 . It is the same , I believe .
Thanks for your infos !

Roro.
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  #42  
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To Nick, just apply for the visa and hope you get it - the piste permits you sort out locally if anyone asks. It's not a big deal.

Ch
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  #43  
Old 6 Nov 2003
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Hello,

>how I can be SURE that these infos are official ones ?

Go to Dz yourself and try it out or wait some time until there will be real official statments or enough travelers reports to confirm the theory.
(I have thees infos only 2nd hand so can give no garante)
But I wouldn't be surprised about some local variations anyway.

Regarding Chris question about the classification: when the system was anounced they refered to "old Michelin maps". So it is not garanteed that the old classification sheeme will be used exactly as before. I think the old sheeme does not apply always to the actual conditions - we have to wait and see how the practice will be.

Bye, Yves
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  #44  
Old 6 Nov 2003
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To Yves : thanks to your infos !
About classification of roads/tracks , I don't remember I have seen any classification on Michelin's maps : Only few forbiden tracks are indicated .
You're right , the best solution is to go to DZ or wait a little for more travellers' report .
( I'm planning to go to Djanet next March )
Roro.
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  #45  
Old 7 Nov 2003
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@roro,

I am sure, you will know more about the situation/practice in DZ beginning of the new year, after tourists were able to experience the current regulation.
But it will certainly still be difficult to assess the security question I suppose.

The "pistes interdites" on older Michelin maps correspond to the "C" classification.

Bye, Yves
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