Middle East Online
Algeria warns of ‘worrying’ situation on vulnerable borders
All means have been mobilised to control and master the situation.
Middle East Online
‘We must remain very, very, very vigilant’
ALGIERS – An Algerian general on Monday warned of a “worrying” situation on the country’s vulnerable borders, faced with chaos in neighbouring Libya and northern Mali.
“The deteriorating security situation in the neighbouring countries are all factors that require permanent vigilance and rigorous deployment,” Boualem Madi told Algerian radio.
Algeria has been an important ally of the West in fighting armed extremists in the Sahara-Sahel region since the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings which toppled dictators across North Africa.
But it shares 6,000 kilometres (3,700 miles) of mostly desert borders with seven countries, including Libya, Mali and Tunisia, making it increasingly vulnerable.
“We must remain very, very, very vigilant,” General Madi said.
“All means have been mobilised to control and master the situation on our borders, to guarantee the stability and territorial integrity of the country.”
The senior military official said Algeria was playing a “pivotal” role in “the security strategy and fight against cross-border terrorism led by all the countries of the Sahel.”
But he warned that Algeria had to remain “omnipresent on all fronts inside the country, to deal with remaining terrorist cells, and on the borders to confront organised cross-border crime in cooperation with neighbouring countries.”
In January 2013, jihadists coming in from Libya stormed In Amenas desert gas plant in the far southeast of Algeria.
Around 40 hostages, all but one of them foreign, were killed in a bloody four-day siege and army operation which followed.
Earlier this month, the army said it foiled several attempts to infiltrate its southern border with Mali by armed Islamists, a dozen of whom were killed.