In the last year, fifteen al Qaeda leaders were killed or captured. The government praised the security forces, and promised continued improvements in pay and living conditions for the police and army units specializing in counter-terror operations.
While the Islamic terrorists were less of a problem last year, the main cause of the Islamic movement remained. Only about a third of young men (late teens to 30) have work. Corruption in the government, and throughout the commercial sector, is rife. A recent poll found that half of these young men wanted to immigrate to Europe. So it should not be surprising that some of them still want to take up arms, in the name of Islam (and getting a job) to overthrow the government.
January 6, 2009: A hundred kilometers east of the capital, police ambushed three terrorists and killed them. The dead were found to have suicide bombs in their vehicle, along with assault rifles and ammunition. The three terrorists were being tracked as they moved towards the capital, where their targets apparently were.
December 20, 2008: Just across the border, a Tuareg rebels, working for a drug gang, attacked a small army base, killing nine soldiers, and losing eleven of their own. The Tuareg rebels sustain themselves by smuggling cheap gasoline out of Algeria, and drugs (locally produced hashish or Colombian cocaine) in (for local consumption or shipment on to Europe.) There is similar smuggling with all of Algerias neighbors, and Islamic terrorists are often involved. The terrorists need money, and moving drugs across the border is a quick way to raise cash.
December 12, 2008: In a town near the Moroccan border, police cornered and killed two al Qaeda members. Six hours of negotiations failed to get the two to surrender.