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Algeria demands hostage release

By Walid Ramzi for Magharebia in Algiers – 01/06/11

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Algeria has launched a formal appeal for the release of all hostages held in Africa, including the Algerians captured by Somali pirates early this year, according to Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci.

"Africa and the international community must intensify their efforts to strengthen the capacities of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and to eliminate terrorist groups that continue to threaten the stability of this country and hold its future hostage," Medelci said Sunday (May 29th). "They must also mobilise in order to put an end to piracy off the coast of Somalia."

When asked about the 17 Algerian sailors captured aboard the MV Blida in January, Medelci said that they were in "good condition".

"The Algerian authorities are monitoring the situation and are in regular contact with them through ship owner International Bulk Carriers (IBC), who are negotiating their release," he said.

The vessel with 27 crew was hijacked in the Indian Ocean on January 1st en route to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania from the Omani port of Salalah.

Toudji Azzedine, from the city of Dellys in Boumerdes province, was among the detained sailors. According to his family, the last communication they had with him was on May 24th. They were told that the crew were in dire conditions.

In his two-minute conversation with his family, Azzedine seemed more worried than a month before, when his family spoke to him for 20 minutes, his son said. The sailor wondered what the authorities were doing to secure the sailors' release.

The appeal launched by Medelci came two days after the families of the hostages assembled in front of the IBC headquarters to denounce the authorities' silence regarding the sailors' fate and to demand President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's intervention to save their lives.

The 80-year-old mother of Ismail Kehli, from Algiers, was among the participants. After hearing about her son's abduction, she suffered from paraplegia and was hospitalised.

"What does the minister want from this appeal?" she wondered. "Does he want to say that Algeria will not pay ransom to save the sailors and they will remain there for many years?"

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  1. Anonymous thumb

    Essid 2011-6-19

    To Amazigh- 1) You said, “If the Muslim countries were democracies, this could be!” Was this intended to be a response to me? If so, I do not see how it responds to what I said. Could you specify what you are responding to? 2) As for your statement that you would be thrown into a prison for what you write if you were in a neighbouring country, why? All that you do on this website is praise the Algerian army for being a “revolutionary army of the people” and blame all of our problems on foreigners. These two things fit well within the propaganda of any regime in the Maghreb. You talk about “republican institutions” as if these institutions are something more than a conglomeration of people and as if these people were not renowned for their corruption. You blame foreign multinationals and foreign governments for exploiting us and you directly absolve our own political leaders for their collusion with the aforementioned, calling them “symptoms” of a foreign disease. You praise the Algerian army and its generals when their massacres of civilians are well-documented. In short, you simplify the entire world into a dichotomy which essentially amounts to “domestic” means “good” and “foreign” means “bad”. Sorry, but the world is more complex than this. 3) Anti-Semitic racism existed in the Maghreb well before the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This conflict has served to exacerbate this racism, but it was certainly present beforehand, as demonstrated by the pogrom led by Algerians in 1934 in Constantine. Racism is a generalised hatred, something that cannot be explained by the misdeeds of a single country and its partisans.


  2. Anonymous thumb

    Amazigh 2011-6-14

    If the Muslim countries were democracies, this could be! However, the degree of oppression and dictatorship is far from being the same as this. What I write in certain national daily newspapers and what I say in various professional and voluntary meetings regarding all of Algeria’s political topics would have won me imprisonment in the neighbouring countries. As a consequence, it should be noted that there are big differences between now and 1988 in Algeria – so, no, not since yesterday, contrary to what some want to have you believe. It is in the name of these particularities that every people is sovereign and decides when, where and how to change their destiny. There is no model! As for the issue of racism, as complex as it is, there are constants. Racism is always the product of politics, and even knowingly so in some cases. Firstly, capitalism generates racism to oppose the workers against themselves so as to better exploit them. Secondly, imperialism produced anti-Muslim racism in order to justify bringing the “insufficiently docile” Muslims to their knees. Thirdly, colonialism generated and operated on anti-native racism. Fourthly, dictatorship secrete identity racism in order to banish any slight sign of people’s affirmation. There you have it: a very-very schematic description of the phenomenon of racism. In Algeria, the anti-Jew racism is the product of the Zionist policy of apartheid and the extermination of the Palestinian people. As for the discrimination against the Amazigh people, it is the product of our history – the Arab occupation, colonisation, the independent authoritarian government. Our people have emancipated themselves from colonialism. They now need to emancipate themselves culturally and ideologically. Many gains have already been made!


  3. Anonymous thumb

    Essid 2011-6-12

    To Amazigh and Marocain Policier- I do not understand why you criticise certain parts of Said’s comment. Elsewhere on this website, Amazigh, you have said that Algeria is governed by corrupt politicians. You have also talked of the racism against Amazighs, so it seems strange that you would deny the overwhelming racism against religious minorities. And we both know that there is a lot of racism in the Maghreb against the Jews and, to a lesser degree, the Christians. We have all heard the “jokes” and the insults against the Jews and there has been plenty of violence against the Jews in our history. (Before I continue, I foresee that someone will likely response that certain Jews in Israel are violent against the Palestinians, but since when do two wrongs make a right?) I agree that it was wrong for Said to accuse Algeria of collusion with Kadhafi’s regime and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. Unless he is able to provide some evidence for these accusations, they are groundless and should be discounted. However, dictatorship and racism are fair accusations for any country in the Maghreb (and most of the world), including Algeria.


  4. Anonymous thumb

    Amazigh 2011-6-6

    To Said- Only speak about what you know! The Algerians are unknown to you. The proof is that your words are the fabric of nonsense and they do not deserve a response. As for the alleged hate the Algerians show for the Jews and Christians, know that this hate is only in your heart! The Algerians have no hatred for any ethnic group, religion or culture. They are variations based on their own ideas and principles. Amazigh and Arab fraternity is the Algerian people’s strength, wealth and beauty, which is unknown to people like you who know nothing of these people, yet talking thoroughly wrongly about them. Your prejudices are lamentable for their lack of respect and, at the very least, of decency! The countries of the Maghreb have enough adversity to overcome without destroying themselves. I would have much criticism for this or that brother country, but I leave this to these brother people's own powers because it is better for them to offer their own appropriate, constructive criticisms. Denigrating others for fun (or other motives) is indicative of a perversion that dishonours the author. No one is fooled!


  5. Anonymous thumb

    marocain policier 2011-6-6

    To Said- Stop with your hatred for Algeria. Not everyone is a big crazy racist like you. There are also intelligent people in Morocco. In any case, you must be a big pro-Al Qaeda fanboy if you are defending this horde. So, I think that you are also a terrorist. Go stand before God and defend the terrorists who are responsible for the thousands of deaths. You are going to pay, you cretin. You mix up everything and anything. Stop. You are not credible or honest. I prefer to ignore you just because I cannot tolerate people like you.


  6. Anonymous thumb

    said 2011-6-2

    The Algerian dictatorship should first clean up its own home and its own mess before claiming anything! It should stop supporting the criminal Kadhafi with arms and mercenaries of all nationalities. It should free those sequestered in Tindouf for 36 years! It should free itself from its own expansionism and its hatred for its neighbours, particularly Morocco and Tunisia. It should free the Algerian people and stop its organised murder under the cover of “Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb”, which, in reality, is its own creation! It should dismantle all of its terrorist networks with are killing Algerians and, more especially, the Berbers. It should free itself from its hatred of the Jews and Christians.