First Published: 2012-09-02


Islamist rebels in Mali claim execution of kidnapped Algerian diplomat


Statement attributed to Movement of Oneness and Jihad in West Africa claims diplomat, Tahar Touati, had been executed.


Middle East Online

Alone in face of adverse fate

ALGIERS - The Algerian authorities said on Sunday they were checking reports that one of their diplomats kidnapped in Mali had been executed by his Islamist captors.

A statement attributed to the Movement of Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) and posted on Internet sites in Algeria claimed that the diplomat, Tahar Touati, had been executed.

"The execution of the diplomat came after the expiry of an ultimatum given to the Algerian government," said the statement.

"Algerian negotiators refused to agree on a deal to release the hostages at the last minute," it added.

MUJAO kidnapped seven Algerian consular officials in the Malian city of Gao on April 5, and threatened reprisals in an August 24 statement should Algiers fail to free three jihadists it arrested in the south that month.

Among the jihadists was Necib Tayeb, also known as Abderrahmane Abou Ishak Essoufi, a senior member of Al-Qaeda's North Africa branch, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

MUJAO gave the authorities "less than five days" to act.

Sunday's statement "is currently the focus of the necessary verification to ensure its authenticity," the Algerian foreign ministry said in a statement released by the official APS news agency.

"Contact has not been broken" with the kidnappers, it added.

MUJAO demanded the release of Islamist militants detained in Algeria and a sum of 15 million euros in May in return for freeing the Algerians, but the authorities said the group let three of them go on July 12.

A video MUJAO released on August 26 showed one of the four remaining hostages pleading with the government to save his life.

The wife of one hostage called on MUJAO to free them in a statement published by the Algerian press on Sunday, saying they were only "innocent civil servants," and urged President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to work for their release.


Abbas calls US ambassador to Israel 'son of a dog'

Saudi crown prince keen to cement ties with US

Pro-Turkish forces loot Afrin

Morocco authorities vow to close Jerada's abandoned mines

Iraqis flock to flea market for relics of bygone era

Human rights chief slams Security Council for inaction on Syria

US warns Turkey over civilians caught in Syria assault

Erdogan vows to expand Syria op to other Kurdish-held areas

Kurdish envoy accuses foreign powers of ignoring Turkish war crimes

Israeli soldier sees manslaughter sentence slashed

Turkey insists no plans to remain in Afrin

Cairo voters show unwavering support for native son Sisi

Forum in Jordan explores new teaching techniques

Gaza Strip woes receive renewed attention but no fix is expected

Kurds, Syrian opposition condemn Afrin looting

36 jihadists killed in Egypt’s Sinai

Israel arrests French consulate worker for gun smuggling

Israel prepares to demolish Jerusalem attacker's home

Saudi crown prince says his country to seek nuclear bomb if Iran does

Arab women artists in diaspora focus on identity and loss

Tunisia’s Central Bank targets inflation but may hurt growth prospects

Libya’s health system reflects a larger humanitarian crisis

Israel blasts Gaza underground tunnel

Abu Dhabi awards France's Total stakes in oil concessions

Erdogan says Afrin city centre under ‘total’ control

Egypt tries to contain Sudan but challenges, suspicions remain

US defence secretary presses Oman on Iran weapons smuggling

Syrian regime retakes two towns from Ghouta rebels

Hamas shutters mobile firm after Gaza attack on PM

Israel punishes family members of West Bank attacker

Syria opposition says UN 'failed to prevent' Assad 'crimes'

UK tries to soothe Egyptian anger over mob attack death

Hundreds of thousands flee in dual Syria assaults

Turkish Cypriots vow to stand firm in gas dispute

Intensifying assaults in Syria spark dual evacuations

Tearful reunions, uncertain fates for Syrians fleeing Ghouta

Iran deal signatories meet as Trump deadline looms

Thirty years on, Kurds remember Halabja massacre

Air India says will fly over Saudi airspace to Tel Aviv

UN chief calls for end to Lebanese 'meddling' in Syria

Turkey seeks jail for journalists opposing government

UN says civilians trapped, used as 'human shields' in Afrin

Iran, Russia, Turkey hold Syria talks in Astana

Civilians killed in Turkish fire on Syria's Afrin

US Defense Secretary says Iran 'mucking around' in Iraq elections