Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Algeria: Terror fears increase security in Hassi Messaoud

Exceptional security measures have been imposed around both Hassi Messaoud and oil installations in the vicinity. Local media reports towards the end of November 2011 said that checkpoints at both entrances to the city had been enforced. Vehicle and person searches were carried out for several days in early November.

Informed sources told the Arabic daily El Khabar that extra vigilance was being applied since Algeria's intelligence service warned that desert smugglers and terrorist groups planned to target energy sites and abduct foreign nationals. Several sources told El Khabar that a member of the Algeria military was arrested in October following a tip-off from a terrorist caught in the northern province of Boumerdes who claimed to have ties in Hassi Messaoud with the arrested military person.

While the southern sites remain secure since the introduction of the new measures, a homemade bomb targeted on 18th November the gas pipeline which links Hassi R'mel with many provinces in the centre and north of the country.

The explosion took place in the town of Djebahia, 30km north of Bouira. The blast was heard several kilometres away and at least nine northern municipalities were cut off from gas supplies for several hours. A local newspaper

reported that the authorities rushed to call on specialist repair teams; however, officials did not comment any further on the incident.

For more news and expert analysis about Algeria, please see Algeria Focus and Algeria Politics & Security.

© 2011 Menas Associates

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