May 25, 2015: Strategy Page
In the last week troops searching Bouira province (120 kilometers southeast of the capital) have found two weapons caches containing machine-guns, rifles, RPGs, grenades, ammo, 13 bombs, components for 31 more bombs and various items of military equipment. This comes in the wake of two clashes on the 19 th and 20th that left 25 Islamic terrorists dead. The troops were specifically searching for a base where they believed a meeting of ISIL members was being held. This gathering was discovered and troops were able to carry out a surprise attack that left 22 Islamic terrorists dead. Pursuit of the survivors left another three dead on the following day.
This area has been a base for Islamic terrorists since the 1990s and most of the Islamic terrorists in the area were known locally as Jund al Khalifa and long affiliated with AQIM (Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb). In September 2014 this group renounced its ties to al Qaeda and declared its allegiance to ISIL. Only two months before that AQIM leaders had reaffirmed their allegiance to al Qaeda and condemned ISIL, which had recently declared a new caliphate (Islamic empire run by ISIL). Since joining ISIL Jund al Khalifa has become a lot more violent. Small groups of AQIM have been hiding out in the coastal mountains east of the capital for years and troops and police are constantly searching the thinly populated mountains and forests of Bouira province.
In the wake of these Jund al Khalifa losses the government announced that only small remnants of Islamic terrorist groups remained in the country. So far this year 59 Islamic terrorists have been killed compared to about 100 for all of 2014.
Since April the army has increased patrols on the borders with Libya, Mali and Niger. This is to stop or discourage smugglers in general and Islamic terrorists in particular. Since early April this effort has led to nearly 700 arrests. Troops have also seized lots of contraband, including weapons and explosives. The patrols have also seized caches of good the smugglers leave near the border for other groups to pick up and move to customers inside Algeria.
Algeria is cooperating with Interpol to update their border control databases with information apparently captured from ISIL in Syria and Iraq about thousands of ISIL members. Interpol wants help in identifying these people and obtaining any background information on them. This is part of a growing international effort to share data on Islamic terrorists in order to interfere with their movement and help lead to the capture (or killing) of these terrorists.
May 19, 2015: In the southwest (Adrar Province near the Morocco border) soldiers found a smuggler hideout where smuggled items were hidden. Troops seized ten AK-47s, an RPG 7 rocket launcher (with three rocket grenades), five radios and over a thousand rounds of ammunition. It’s unclear if these items were headed for Algeria or Morocco.
May 18, 2015: Officials met with the commander of AFRICOM to discuss cooperation with American efforts to deal with Islamic terrorism in North Africa and especially Libya.
May 16, 2015: Southern neighbor Mali signed a peace deal with Tuareg rebels. These Tuareg rebels and Islamic terrorists (from Mali and neighboring countries) took over most of northern Mali in 2012 and remained in control until a 2013 French-led invasion restored government control. Most of the Islamic terrorists were killed or fled to Libya and Niger. Algeria beefed up its security on its Mali border and hosted several rounds of peace negotiations between the government and the rebels. Not all rebels signed the peace deal and some are still fighting.
May 14, 2015: Across the border near the mountain town of Kasserine Tunisian soldiers killed four Islamic terrorists. Army and police patrols have been scouring the area since the March terror attack in the Tunisian capital that left 22 dead (most of them foreign tourists).
Islamic terrorist leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a founder of Islamic terror group Al Mourabitoun has apparently been replaced as leader of Al Mourabitoun. This became clear when Al Mourabitoun recently announced it was joining ISIL and that Internet announcement was followed by one from Belmokhtar disagreeing with the decision to leave AQIM for ISIL. But the ISIL move was later confirmed and so was the fact that Belmokhtar was no longer in charge at Al Mourabitoun, which is currently based in southern Libya. Belmokhtar is the Algerian Islamic terrorist responsible for the January 2013 natural gas facility attack in southern Algeria that got 37 workers killed. Al Mourabitoun was formed in August 2013 when two Islamic terrorist factions merged and pledged allegiance to AQIM. For a while Al Mourabitoun was detected operating in northern Mali and Niger. One faction was an al Qaeda splinter group led by Belmokhtar who had a reputation for always escaping the many efforts to kill or capture him. Belmokhtar was number two or three in AQIM but formed his own splinter group in late 2012. The French and American pressure in Mali and the Sahel left Belmokhtar short of cash and prospects, so returning to al Qaeda was a way to remedy those problems. Al Qaeda has always had access to more cash and other resources than most other terrorist organizations and that’s why it remains such a visible player. Belmokhtar denounced ISIL as being religiously unfit, but he might also be concerned about that fact that ISIL is in a much more precarious financial position than AQIM.
May 12, 2015: In Batna (500 kilometers east of the capital) Islamic terrorists ambushed and killed four local village defense volunteers. AQIM is still active in this area and attacks the defense volunteers whenever possible because these groups hinder movement by Islamic terrorists by manning roadblocks and reporting suspicious activity to the security forces. Elsewhere along the coast (Ain Defla, 100 kilometers west of the capital) soldiers ambushed and killed two Islamic terrorists.
May 9, 2015: Another AQIM faction (Katiba Skikda) declared allegiance to ISIL. Based east of the capital, near the Tunisian border, Katiba Skikda is one of the many Islamic terrorist groups facing elimination because of years of pressure from the security forces and lack of public support. That means fewer new recruits and constant shortages of cash and supplies. ISIL is seen as a higher profile group that uses new tactics (more savage violence) to get results where al Qaeda tactics have failed. To many counter-terrorism experts these moves to ISIL seem more an act of desperation than anything else.
May 7, 2015: About a hundred kilometers east of the capita (Tizi Ouzou) troops came upon eight bunkers apparently built and still used by Islamic terrorists. The soldiers recovered weapons and other equipment. Further east (Skikda, 500 kilometers east of the capital) troops found 25 bombs hidden by Islamic terrorists.
May 3, 2015: Troops killed three Islamic terrorists in Bouira province (120 kilometers southeast of the capital). Near Ain Defla (100 kilometers west of the capital) soldiers killed two Islamic terrorists over the last two days.