Tourists accused of stealing artifacts

22nd November 2004, Comments 0 comments

22 November 2004, ALGIERS - Five German tourists who were found on Saturday after going missing for two days in Algeria's southern Sahara region have been accused of stealing archeological artifacts, an Algerian government source said Monday. In an interview published Monday in the newspaper El Watan, the director of the Tassili National Park, Semmadi Mohamed al-Aid, said that the five had made an illegal visit to the park and would also be charged with breaking Algerian tourism regulations. On Sunday, the

22 November 2004

ALGIERS - Five German tourists who were found on Saturday after going missing for two days in Algeria's southern Sahara region have been accused of stealing archeological artifacts, an Algerian government source said Monday.

In an interview published Monday in the newspaper El Watan, the director of the Tassili National Park, Semmadi Mohamed al-Aid, said that the five had made an illegal visit to the park and would also be charged with breaking Algerian tourism regulations.

On Sunday, the Algerian APS news agency reported that police had seized 31 geological samples and 113 archeological artifacts, including ceramics, pestles, millstones and pre-historic tools, from the vehicles of the five German nationals.

El Watan also reported Monday that one of the five owned an agency in Germany that sold artifacts and had made at least five visits to the region previously.

After an extensive search, the group was found late Saturday some 95 kilometres from the city of Djanet and immediately arrested. If tried and convicted of the charges, they risk heavy fines and sentences of between 2 and 5 years in prison.

Last year 32 European tourists were kidnapped by the GSPC terrorist group as they travelled through southern Algeria.

DPA

Subject: German news

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