41 foreign nationals are still being held hostage in Algeria this morning following an attack yesterday on a gas facility in the east, demonstrating the reported spillover of the french intervention in Mali. Military operations are said to be underway says the British Foreign Office, for Algerian forces have surrounded the kidnappers location as of this morning. Those nationals involved include Algerian, British, Japanese, American, Norwegian, and French citizens. The suspected kidnappers are mostly Algerian, being led by a former al-Qaeda commander.
It is now determined by reports that “the kidnapping in Algeria was a retaliation for a French military assault on Islamist extremists in Mali that has escalated into a potentially much broader North African conflict.” Like with many international interventions on terrorism, there has been a local (regional) backlash, and it’s going to be interesting to see how the French government and military, who are much in the spotlight right now, will act. Clearly, other governments such as the British and United States are now at least minimally involved, and the conflict is unquestionably no longer limited to within Mali’s borders. Although these powerful nations will most likely not get seriously militarily involved, there now have to be discussions between them on the real conflicts and dangers that remain in the North African region.