Attack at ain Amenas

January 19, 2013

The attack at the ain Amenas oil field in eastern Algeria started at dawn the morning of 16Jan.  The 32 militants, who were from  “The Battalion of those who Sign their Names in Blood”, a Mali-based al-Qaida splinter group of the Masked Brigade, are led by Khaled Abu al-Abas, alias Mokhtar bil-Mokhtar, an Algerian, and arrive in four-wheel drive vehicles with heavy machine guns and RPG’s.  The target of opportunity was the two buses transporting foreign workers traveling east from the oil complex towards the airport.  The terrorists were deflected by private security forces escorting the buses,  but continued on to the refinery and the living quarters and began taking hostages.  There were  over 100 foreign workers at ain Amenas, and the nearly 700 Algerian workers were briefly detained but quickly released.

28.042137,9.551411 - Google Maps_ain_Amenas.png

Punch these co-ordinates into Google Maps and have a look for yourself.

The ain Amenas complex is run by Sonatrach, the Algerian state oil company, Norway’s Statoil, the Japanese company JGC Corp, and BP.  From Statoil’s website homepage (at this time):

Then on Thursday morning, 35 hostages were loaded into seven SUV’s and were to be  moved by fifteen of the terrorists over the  mile of desert separating the housing quarters to the refinery which had been completely rigged with explosives.   The Algerian  Special Forces in helicopters fired on and stopped the convoy, but this resulted in many casualties.

From ITN Channel 4 in London:

On Saturday, the remaining 11 terrorists shot and killed their (six) remaining hostages but were then killed by Algerian special forces close to their position.  Final number of  hostages killed is around 40, while all of the 32 terrorists were killed.

Here is the map of North Africa Oil and Gas Products Pipelines from Theodora:

You can see the (F5) and (F7) oil lines and (F15) gas lines intersecting at ain Amenas.  You can see how the oil fields of Northern Africa are piped to feed their northern neighbors.  It is an interesting side story to me that embedded into the .jpeg of the oil field map is a picture of some little old man in his house standing in front of a picture that implies he’s Coptic.  Made with a Cannon D350 on the 5th of July, 2006, a little after 11 a.m., according to the exif data.  Wonder why he’d want to do that?  Was he hiding the map in his picture, or is he hiding his picture in the map?


UPDATE:  Total hostages killed – 48.  Still missing/unaccounted for – 20.



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