This time last week the war on Mali was only a few hours old. I had already asked my questions concerning it. One of the questions was on where the arms were coming from, or at the very least, where they were being transported from. Today, it is clear that the war is no longer in Mali alone. One of my key questions has also found its answer. There is a terrorist back channel in Algeria..
And the Algerian branch of the Nebula has shown itself in no uncertain terms.. and the Algerian Army has also responded in no uncertain terms.
The story I:
On Wednesday the 16th of January, very early in the morning, a truck load of armed men storm a gas platform in the South Algerian desert town of In Amena. Some 40 Westerners and hundreds of Algerians at the platform are held hostage. The kidnappers request that "France stops its aggression in Mali" and "possibility to leave the country"
The Story 2:
A bit before the hostage, Algeria had closed its borders with Mali. When the news was made known.. I had a chill. . because in its history, I have known Algeria not to be a nation that negotiates with terrorism. It did not take 30 hours before the Algerian army responded to the terrorists. Algeria responded with a surge. A surge whose first report comes to 34 hostages killed, 14 terrorists dead, hundreds rescued.
No negotiation policy: Algeria has always made it clean and clearly known. The official policy of the country is NOT to negotiate and NOT to pay any ransom.
There is no Army to train. I have been to Algeria and I am yet to see any Army or police that is as ready as the ones I saw in Algiers anywhere in Africa. These ones are not like the ones in Mali, they are capable, equipped and and ready.
No "international community" needed: No, Algeria did not wait for the Maghreb Union to meet, and inform the UN General Assembly, to request the UN Security Council to vote..and listen to what the countries with veto will have to say. No, Algeria is not doing all of that. Because that is the time that terrorists use to re-arm and consolidate.
Sovereignty: Algeria has made it clear. This is happening in my territory, against my people, in an Algerian company. This is a problem that concerns me, even if some hostages are not Algerian citizens. I will solve it my way.
The aim of this post is not to hail violence, or to make a light case of the human lives lost. But just to note that Algeria has shown key qualities that have been lacking in many African countries:1) a clear policy, 2) preparedness of the defense capacity, 3) agile decision-making and rapid response in emergencies, and 4) a clear sovereign responsibility.
There may be regrets later, there may be clarifications to nations whose citizens would have been among the victims, there may be explanations later to the larger Algerian populace..
But Algeria will never be blamed for not taking action when action needed to be taken.
It is in this that I agree with Algeria: Have a policy, Be Ready, Decide, and defend your sovereignty.