Frenchman abducted in Algeria's restive east: security

22nd September 2014, Comments 0 comments

A French tourist was abducted at the weekend in a mountainous region of eastern Algeria where Al-Qaeda is active, security and judicial sources said on Monday.

The man, aged 55, was seized on Sunday evening as he was trekking in the Tizi Ouzou region of Kabylie, where Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has carried out deadly attacks this year.

But it was not immediately clear if he was abducted by AQIM militants or bandits.

The Algerian news website El Ahdath said, however, he was kidnapped by a "terrorist group" -- the term used by authorities to refer to armed Islamists.

There was no immediate confirmation of the kidnapping from Paris, where the French foreign ministry said it was trying to verify the reports.

News of the abduction came after the Islamic State group called on Muslims to kill citizens of countries taking part in the US-led anti-jihadist coalition in Iraq.

"If you can kill a disbelieving American or European -- especially the spiteful and filthy French -- or an Australian, or a Canadian or any other disbeliever... including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him," said Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, the group's spokesman.

The United States and France are carrying out air strikes against IS targets across Iraq and seeking to build an international coalition against a group increasingly perceived as a global threat.

Earlier Monday the Algerian defence ministry said soldiers had killed a "terrorist chief" during an operation in the Kabylie region, some 110 kilometres (70 miles) east of Algiers.

The ministry did not identify the target but said he was killed in an ambush in a wooded area south of Tizi Ouzou.

Violence blamed on Islamists has declined considerably in recent years, but militants who battled the army during the civil war in the 1990s and later formed AQIM still operate in the Kabylie area.

In April gunmen ambushed a military convoy east of Algiers and killed 11 soldiers, in the deadliest attack on the military in years.

AQIM claimed responsibility for the attack.


© 2014 AFP

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