French anti-terrorism officials warn of possible terror attacks in France, by North Africa based Islamic terrorists. France has sent reconnaissance aircraft and commandos to Niger to help find those who recently kidnapped uranium mine employees. The al Qaeda threat to the uranium operations there is a matter of great importance. Nuclear plants generate 80 percent of electricity in France, and the two mines in Niger produce most of the nuclear fuel for these plants (and seven percent of global production.)
Algeria warned France not to pay a ransom to Islamic terrorists in order to get the five French uranium mine employees back. Officials point out that a lot of the recent al Qaeda activity has been paid with ransom money. Algeria is particularly incensed at the ten million dollars quietly paid by Spain to Islamic radicals earlier this year to free three Spanish hostages taken in Mauritania and moved to Mali. Italy has also paid millions to Islamic militants in the past two years, to recover their citizens. The U.S., France and Britain say they do not pay ransoms, as it only encourages kidnappers. France believes some of the ransom millions paid to Islamic terrorists in the last year is financing planned terror attacks inside France.
The government is prosecuting two Christian construction workers for openly breaking the Ramadan fast. Many Moslem nations have laws that punish those violating religious customs. During the month of Ramadan, all Moslems are not supposed to not eat or drink during daylight. Non-Moslems are expected to not eat or drink in public during Ramadan. The two construction workers were eating their lunch at a construction site when they were arrested. Algeria has prosecuted, or persecuted, its Christian minority before. According to the government, the Algerian political system is secular. But religion is still important. The area where the two Christians were arrested on the 13th, is largely Berber. An increasing number of Berbers are converting to Christianity, as a protest against the continued persecution of Berbers. The government says that only 11,000 (out of 34 million) Algerians are Christian. But Christian religious leaders say the number is 30,000 and growing fast, especially among Berbers. The government fears these Berber Christians. The Berbers, a people related to the ancient Egyptians, were the original occupants of Algeria. Arab armies conquered the country over a thousand years ago, but, unlike other Arab conquests, most Berbers did not adopt Arab language and customs. Today, about a third of Algerians are Berbers, and speak the Berber language, Tamazight. There has always been tension between Berbers and Arabs, and now Berbers are demanding that their language be made one of Algeria's official languages. The Arab dominated government refuses to consider this. Berbers are now demonstrating to protest the prosecution of the two Berber Christians.
The government has been resisting efforts to fight corruption. Anti-corruption activists are being harassed and prosecuted, usually on trumped up charges.
September 22, 2010: A roadside bomb went off 79 kilometers east of the capital, killing two policemen.
Al Qaeda in North Africa released an audio recording on the Internet, taking credit for the recent kidnapping of five French citizens in Niger. There was no other proof.
September 19, 2010: Mauritanian troops attacked al Qaeda gunmen in northern Mali (250 kilometers west of Timbuktu.) The fighting left 12 terrorists and eight soldiers dead. The terrorists suffered more wounded and captured.
September 16, 2010: Islamic terrorists in Niger kidnapped five French citizens and two Niger associates, who worked at a French-run uranium mine. The thirty armed men and their captives were last seen driving off towards Mali and Algeria. The mines employ 2,500 people, including fifty foreigners and has been operating since the 1970s.
September 12, 2010: Security forces battled Islamic terrorists 600 kilometers east of the capital, killing two of them and wounding several more.