Monday, July 19, 2004

Algeria Negotiating With MDJT Over GSPC Leader

Islam Online is reporting that negotiations are underway between Algeria and Chadian rebels holding Amar Saifi, one of Al Qaeda-linked GSPC's leaders.

ALGIERS, July 19 ( – Algeria is negotiating with a Chadian opposition group over the handover of a senior leader of the Salafi Group for Islamic Call and Fighting, Interior Minister Nourredine Yazid Zerhouni has revealed.

“Ammar Saifi is held by a Chadian opposition group and Algerian authorities are negotiating his handover to stand trial before an Algerian court,” Zerhouni told a press conference Saturday, July 17.

He did not elaborate on the talks, declining further to name the group so that such a “sensitive” operation would prove a success.
No word out of Libya yet, who earlier threatened to bomb the same rebels if they would not hand him over to them, rather than to the Algerians.

Update 07/19/2004: The Chadian rebels not mentioned are thought to be the "Movement for Democracy and Justice in Tchad" or MDJT. We have this tidbit of info on them, taken from the State Department's web site:
Since October 1998 Chadian Movement for Justice and Democracy (MDJT) rebels have skirmished with government troops in the Tibesti region, resulting in hundreds of civilian, government, and rebel casualties, but little ground won or lost. The rebellion lingers but in recent months has withered. In August and September 2003, following an accord with the government, several hundred rebels rejoined the Chadian Army.

Meanwhile, Reuters is reporting that a statement has been released by the GSPC on their website, claiming:
"Mustapha Abou Ibrahim and six other mujahideen are, for us, reported missing. We do not know their fate," the GSPC said in a statement posted on its Web site, dated July 17.

"In the event of their deaths being confirmed, that will not harm us."