Tripoli, 29 September:
Algerian security services have broken-up a suspected terrorist network responsible for training young Algerians to join Islamist militias in Libya.
The network, said to have links with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, had been intending to send 27 fighters to join militias based in Benghazi and the former Qaddafi stronghold of Bani Walid.
A security source told Algeria’s El-Khabar newspaper that the network had been under investigation for some time and that recruits were being indoctrinated with extremist materials.
The security officer reckoned that Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has been able to send 98 fighters to Libya since the outbreak of last year’s revolution, receiving support from smugglers operating in the remote and porous desert borders between the two countries.
She said that eight Algerians had been killed fighting in Libya, the majority from Ouargla and Tamanrasset provinces.
Militants from the network are also believed to have been sent to Syria to fight against the regime of Bashar Al-Assad.
Algeria’s authoritarian government has been fighting a years-long campaign against Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and has largely succeeded in driving the group into the more remote peripheries of the Maghreb and the Sahel.
The organisation is an outgrowth of the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat, which fought to overthrow the regime of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Earlier this month, Algerian security forces reportedly killed seven members of the terrorist group on the borders with Libya and Niger, and the government in Algiers is known to be conducting surveillance operations along Libya’s borders. [/restrict]