The heightened risks for foreign nationals in Algeria
26 September 2014
This week, the French mountain guide, Herve Gourdel, was brutally murdered by his captors in Algeria. His abduction last Sunday came 24 hours after the release of a video by Islamic State (IS) calling on its fighters across the region to kill citizens of countries that support the coalition against IS.
M. Gourdel, a 55 year-old mountain guide from Nice, was abducted while trekking in the remote Tizi Ouzou province. His captors, a group calling themselves Jund al-Khilifa (Caliphate Soldiers) recently split from Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) to swear allegiance to Islamic State (IS).
This recent kidnapping underscores the potential dangers for westerners in the region, and the possible need for specialist high-risk Algeria insurance for any one considering visiting, living or working there.
Heightened level of threat
Though there have been incidents of terrorism in Algeria in recent years, most notably with the siege of the In Amenas gas plant in 2013, the tragic death of M. Gourdel potentially signals a heightened level of threat to foreign nationals.
The latest Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice is that this threat comes from IS infiltration and that further attacks and kidnappings are likely. Foreign nationals in Algeria should take care at all times and observe FCO advice regarding travel to areas where the threat is high. Though the capital Algiers and other main cities are seen as generally safe, places known to be frequented by westerners are a likely target and there is also the risk of indiscriminate attacks. Though there is some risk Islamist militants could strike in any part of Algeria, most of their activity has been across the south, central and northeastern areas of the country and border areas of Algeria, Mali and Libya.
In the fifty years since independence from France, Algeria has seen much political upheaval and violence. A civil war between the military and Islamist rebels raged throughout the 1990s claiming the lives of over 150,000 people.
Since then country has enjoyed a period of relative peace, however more recently the group Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has been responsible for a campaign of terror that includes suicide bombings, murders, kidnappings, and attacks on government and gas and oil facilities.
One of Africa’s top oil producing nations
Algeria is one of Africa’s top oil and gas producers and the second largest natural gas supplier to Europe. However, due in part to the security situation, its production has been falling over recent years. In January 2013 Islamic terrorists stormed the In Amenas gas plant near the Libyan border. In the ensuing 4-day siege, 40 workers were killed, among them six Britons.
Algeria insurance advice
If you have concerns about yourself, your loved ones or your business interests in areas where there may be an emerging threat of terrorism, please give us a call. We have many years of experience in organising international insurance that can provide protection for those working in high-risk regions. We can put together policies that will remain active in the event of war or terrorism to cover life, disability, personal accident and medical emergencies. Kidnap and ransom insurance can also be arranged.
To discuss your particular needs for Algeria insurance, please call our experienced team on +44 (0)1242 584 558.