Several Dozen European and American Oil Workers Kidnapped in Algeria, But Escape!
AQIM claimed responsibility, saying this is retaliation for the French-led campaign in Mali. “The Algerian news agency reported that as many as 45 hostages, including Americans, escaped from a natural gas complex a day after Islamic militants seized the installation in retaliation for French airstrikes against Islamist rebels in neighboring Mali. The Algerian report said 30 Algerians and 15 foreigners had fled the compound Thursday. The report could not be independently confirmed. The Associated Press, quoting an unnamed Algerian official, said 20 foreigners, including Americans, had escaped.” (LAT http://lat.ms/WhE93r)
International Criminal Court Opening Mali Investigation
The ICC will probe alleged war crimes in Mali. “In a statement Wednesday, ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said she has determined that some “deeds of brutality and destruction” committed in Mali may constitute war crimes. She says there is reasonable basis to believe the crimes include murder, torture, attacking protected objects, illegal executions and rape. The investigation comes after human rights groups voiced concern about alleged abuses in northern Mali, which is controlled by Islamist militant groups.(VOA http://bit.ly/WeMjth)
And other updates from the Sahel, from DAWNS Digest.
The French defense minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, announced on Thursday that French forces in Mali now number 1,400 — 600 more than the figure given on Wednesday. (NYT http://nyti.ms/WhIlzX)
UNHCR says it is prepared for an increase in the number of Malian refugees escaping to neighboring countries. (AlertNet http://bit.ly/10zVQBX)
Chad is sending an unspecified number of troops to Mali in support of the international intervention. (FoxNews http://fxn.ws/WeLi4n)
Legal restrictrictions over giving aid to the government in Bamako are complicating American assistance to the French-led mission in Mali. (Bloomberg http://bloom.bg/WeLIb7)