Algiers, 29 Nov. (AKI) – Algeria’s secret service agency believes a branch of Al-Qaeda is planning a wave of abductions of Westerners in North Africa, according to a local news report.
The Department of Investigation and Security, or DRS, has informed its neighbours in the Sahel region that Al-Qaeda Organization in the Islamic Maghreb has a plan to kidnap Westerners in the Sahel, according to a report in Algerian daily el-Khabar.
Sahel the countries bordering Saharan and sub-Saharan Africa: parts of the territory of Senegal, southern Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, southern Algeria, Niger, northern Nigeria, Chad, Sudan, northern Ethiopia and Eritrea.
The next kidnappings were slated to be carried out by Mauritanian terrorists.
The DRS believes recent abductions were carried out by a group headed by Algerian Wahi Abdel Baqi, the report said.
European humanitarian aid workers – Italian woman Rossella Urru, Spanish woman Ainhoa Fernandez Rincon and Spanish man Enrico Gonyans – were abducted on 23 October from the Rabuni camp, primarily inhabited by refugees from Western Sahara, in western Algeria.
Baqi, 44, speaks English and French as [sic] was allegedly in competition with other North African Al-Qaeda cells, said el-Khabar.