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Desert Travels - Motorcycle Journeys in the Sahara and West Africa!

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  #1  
Old 4 Feb 2011
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Italian Kidnapped In Algeria (Feb 2011)

Scant news, but found this in Echrouk:

الشروق أون لاين - English

Last edited by Chris Scott; 18 Apr 2012 at 16:32.
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  #2  
Old 4 Feb 2011
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From the same source that DTH quoted:
"
Informed sources have revealed to Echorouk that Italian tourist was kidnapped last Wednesday in southern Algeria, just in a remote region of 170 km from Djanet. "
Elsewhere it is reported her name is Maria and she is 53.
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  #3  
Old 4 Feb 2011
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If the report is valid, I would guess this incident happened in the Tadrart, far east and only 60km or so from Niger. Why only one tourist though? And why a woman when AQIM normally prefer to retain men.
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  #4  
Old 4 Feb 2011
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Looks to be a real incident. She has been taken to Niger - either Djado or N.Tenere I'd guess.
From Italian press:
AGI News On - ALGERIA: ITALIAN TOURIST KIDNAPPED IN THE SAHARA DESERT

AGI) Algiers - A 53-year-old Italian tourist, Maria S., was kidnapped in south Algeria, 170 kilometres from Djanet, the newspaper Echourouk reported citing "secure sources". The woman had arrived in Algeria on 20 January and was supposed to return to Italy on 22 February. The newspaper sources believe she has been transferred to the Republic of Niger and that terrorist groups operating in that area may be engaged in the kidnapping.
The Crisis Unit and the Embassy in Algiers are checking on the incident. .
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  #5  
Old 4 Feb 2011
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Other reports now adding some details.

The incident happened near Alidema, near the Tadrart (Alidema is famous for rock arches) -roughly 23deg 30 S, 10 deg 32 E (those figures are my guess, they are not reported). Two toyotas and 14 bandits - Algerian guide and driver subsequently released. Bandits reported to be in Niger now.
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Old 4 Feb 2011
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Algérie: une touriste italienne enlevée au sud de Djanet - Actualité - El Watan

Quote:
An Italian tourist was kidnapped in the night between Wednesday and Thursday by a group of terrorists in the region Alidena, located 250 km south of Djanet, a source of the wilaya of Illizi, contacted by the APS.


The tourist, aged 56, was a client with the tourist agency "Ténéré" for a stay of 14 days, the first week was spent in the region Tadrart, it was reported.

On the eighth day, she went to Djanet to refuel, before being taken by terrorists armed with automatic weapons, aboard two all terrain vehicles, sources said. The group consisted of about fifteen people, according to other sources.
...
The terrorists then allowed their hostages to use their cell phone (Thuraya), to warn the boss of the agency Ténéré in Djanet, who immediately alerted the security services, the source said. A search operation is conducted by the security services and the PNA across the region of Tassili, the source said.
Worst thing that could happen for tourism in Algerian south. That has already seen dwindling numbers of tourists TOURISME MAGAZINE N°27/JAN-FEV 2011 v_2
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Old 4 Feb 2011
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Do you think the gendarmes have any control of the Tenere border?
Not much traffic, two vehicles could be easy to spot with surveillance.
Why would they let the guide alert the agency? These bandits would need all the head start they could get, no? Long drive ahead.
Do you think there really are any aqim active in the Djanet/Tassili n'Ajjer or even the whole Illizi wilaya? Or aren't these more likely opportunistic bandits looking for something they can sell.
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Old 4 Feb 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by priffe View Post
Do you think the gendarmes have any control of the Tenere border? .


There is a permanent military camp on the NW edge of Adrar Mariaou near 23deg 40S, 9 deg 52E which I've run in to on two separate trips. In the first we were chased and stopped by the Gendarme. In the second case, the base had no vehicles (but had 40 hungry looking personnel). This is 60 km away from Alidema and in the direction of Djanet, so I don't think these guys could help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by priffe View Post
Not much traffic, two vehicles could be easy to spot with surveillance.
Why would they let the guide alert the agency? These bandits would need all the head start they could get, no? Long drive ahead.
Do you think there really are any aqim active in the Djanet/Tassili n'Ajjer or even the whole Illizi wilaya? Or aren't these more likely opportunistic bandits looking for something they can sell.


The spot is well chosen - its a quick dash to Djado from there. Why alert the agency? Hell these guys do some funny things.

Are these AQIM or Djado bandits? The last episode I know of near here involved four germans who set out from Djanet to Chirfa. They were nailed across the cut-line just inside Niger by Djado bandits who let them go in one car after a few days and plenty of rough treatment (the German's camped right next to us in Zeribas before this happened). I doubt Djado bandits would allow that warning Thuraya call to go out. And before they have operated in smaller groups. 14 in two toyotas sounds AQIM to me - as does letting the driver and guide go free.

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  #9  
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BBC News - Italian woman tourist abducted in Algerian Sahara
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Old 4 Feb 2011
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UPDATE 1-Italian woman kidnapped in Algeria-official media | News by Country | Reuters

Quote:
ALGIERS Feb 4 (Reuters) - An Italian woman on a tourist trip to the Sahara desert in Algeria has been kidnapped by al Qaeda insurgents, Algeria's official news agency and a government security source said on Friday.
...
The source said security services believe the kidnappers were a group of local young men who had been in prison and joined AQIM soon after they were released five or six months ago.
badbadbad for Djanet
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Rescue under way?

Sahara tourist 'kidnapped by al-Qaida' | World news | The Guardian

Quote:
The woman was kidnapped on Wednesday night in the desert south of the town of Djanet, the official agency reported. It said a major operation, involving security services and the military, was under way to find the woman.
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Sud de l'Algérie: premier enlèvement d'Occidental depuis 2003 - Dépêches - El Watan

Quote:
This is the first Westerner to be kidnapped since 2003 in this area Algerian Sahel
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  #13  
Old 4 Feb 2011
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Too bad, too sad.
Almost 8 years without problems and now this incident - definitely won't help tourism in le Grand Sud.
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  #14  
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Gunmen kidnap Italian woman tourist in Algeria - World news - Africa - msnbc.com

Quote:
An Algerian security analyst said the kidnapping did not fit in with al Qaeda's usual mode of operating, which suggested the hostage-takers may be smugglers.
"This would be the first time that al Qaeda has kidnapped a woman alone," said Samer Riad. "This is against (Islamic) sharia rules. We wait to see if al Qaeda ... claims this action."
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  #15  
Old 6 Feb 2011
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L'Expression Edition OnLine

Quote:
An extensive military action research and investigation is being conducted in southern Algeria in an attempt to trace the Italian national abducted last Wednesday at 170 km from the town of Djanet in the wilaya of Illizi. The latest were reports until yesterday that was reportedly taken hostage by kidnappers in Niger.
...
Security sources have told us that the group of a certain Abd El Karim, who has joined the GSPC a year ago, after negotiating with the notorious Abu Zeid, who is behind the kidnapping.
Ennahar Online - An Italian tourist kidnapped by Smugglers in Southern Algeria

Quote:
An Italian tourist was kidnapped last Thursday evening in a first operation on the Algerian territory since 2003. According to local sources, the tourist, an Italian woman named Mariani Maria Sandra, aged 56, has been a kidnapping Thursday evening in the region of Alidena, near Niger and at the Algerian-Libyan border, 250 Km of Djanet in the province of Illizi.

The victim was with her driver and her tourist guide “T. M.”, aged 39, aboard a Toyota vehicle, in a tourist trip in the Sahara regions.
The guide was released by the kidnappers.
The kidnapping of the Italian tourist took place very quickly and she was taken towards the borders of Niger by her kidnappers who were armed with two all terrain vehicles.
...
According to sources of Ennahar, this kidnapping is the work of a group of smugglers, with the complicity of the tourist guide who has alerted the security services 24 hours later.
???
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