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After 20 Years in Power, a Resignation—and Celebrations

Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika steps down

(Newser) - A crowd of Algerians is celebrating President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's resignation after 20 years in power and weeks of mass protests, the AP reports. Several hundred people gathered in front of the central post office in downtown Algiers, the capital, on Tuesday night after his announcement. The crowd was peaceful,... More »

Walk or Die: Algeria Shoved 13K Migrants Into Sahara

Mass expulsions pick up in last 14 months; 'there were people who couldn't take it,' says survivor

(Newser) - Algeria has abandoned more than 13,000 people in the Sahara Desert over the past 14 months, including pregnant women and children, expelling them without food or water and forcing them to walk, at times at gunpoint, under blistering temperatures of up to 118 degrees. In Niger, where the majority... More »

257 Killed When Military Plane Crashes in Algeria

More than 300 emergency workers are at the scene near Algiers

(Newser) - Algeria's defense ministry says 257 people died when a military plane crashed soon after takeoff in a farm field in northern Algeria on Wednesday, per the AP . The Soviet-designed Il-76 military transport plane had departed Boufarik air base, 20 miles southwest of the capital Algiers, for a military base... More »

Man's Quest for 1K Likes Sends Him to Prison

Algerian man sentenced to 2 years over Facebook photo

(Newser) - A man in Algeria apparently picked a terrible way to get attention on social media—and now he'll pay for it in prison. On Monday an Algerian court sentenced the unnamed man to two years after he posted to Facebook a photo of himself dangling a baby out of... More »

Stunning Sight in Sahara: Snow

Algerian town just got its first major snowfall in 37 years

(Newser) - Perhaps Mother Nature drank a bit too much eggnog on Monday because she delivered a blanket of snow on one of the hottest and driest spots on the planet. The town of Ain Sefra, Algeria, on the northern tip of the Sahara desert—where temperatures can reach 122 degrees—was... More »

20 Children Ditched by Smugglers Perish in Sahara

They were part of a group of 34 migrants

(Newser) - A group of nearly three dozen migrants, most of them kids, paid smugglers to whisk them out of Niger and Nigeria and to a new life to the north—but instead paid the ultimate price. The five men, nine women, and 20 minors were found dead Sunday in the Sahara,... More »

Video: ISIS-Linked Group Beheaded French Hostage

Herve Gourdel was kidnapped Sunday in Algeria

(Newser) - Algerian extremists allied with the Islamic State group have decapitated a French hostage after France ignored their demand to stop airstrikes in Iraq, according to a video released by terrorism watchdog SITE Intelligence Group. A group calling itself Jund al-Khilafah said after abducting Herve Gourdel on Sunday that he would... More »

Lone Survivor Found in Algerian Plane Crash

77 others killed as military plane hits mountain

(Newser) - A sole survivor is being treated for head injuries after being found in the wreckage of a plane crash that killed 77 other people in eastern Algeria. The Hercules C-130 military transport plane hit a mountain in bad weather, reports the BBC . "The plane crashed into a mountain and... More »

2 Gitmo Inmates Sent to Algeria Against Will

162 detainees remain

(Newser) - Two men who had been held without charge at Guantanamo Bay for more than a decade have been sent back to their native Algeria against their will as part of a renewed effort to gradually close the prison, officials say. Both prisoners had resisted being returned to their homeland because... More »

Desert Yields Bodies of 92 Thirst Victims

Thousands try cross-Sahara journey seeking work

(Newser) - Earlier reports suggested that about 35 people , apparently migrants seeking work, had died of thirst in a Niger desert—but the remains of more than double that number have been discovered by rescue teams, reports the AP . The 92 highly decomposed bodies appeared to have been scavenged by jackals, rescue... More »

Dozens Die of Thirst After Desert Stranding

5 bodies discovered following vehicle's breakdown near Sahara

(Newser) - Statements don't get much bleaker than this: "About 40 Niger people, including numerous children and women, who were attempting to emigrate to Algeria, died of thirst in mid-October." That's what the mayor of Agadez, Niger, tells the AFP , which reports that one of two vehicles carrying... More »

164 to Go: US Transferring 2 Gitmo Prisoners to Algeria

No details available yet about them

(Newser) - The White House plans to transfer two detainees from Guantanamo Bay to Algeria, the first movement of prisoners out since the president announced a renewed push to close the military-run detention center in Cuba. The White House said it was starting the transfers as part of Obama's goal to... More »

US Might Expand 'Kill List' Into North Africa

Officials debate adding Algerian militant Mokhtar Belmokhtar

(Newser) - Amid the debate about whether US drone strikes go too far, the Wall Street Journal reports that US officials are considering a "significant" expansion of the nation's targeted-killing program into northwest Africa. Specifically, the powers-that-be are debating whether to add Algerian militant Mokhtar Belmokhtar to the Pentagon's... More »

North Africa Militants Eye New Western Targets: Report

New concerns about al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb

(Newser) - Washington is growing increasingly concerned about groups like al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, once considered less of a threat than other branches. Following the attack on an Algerian gas plant that killed dozens, north African militant groups are on the hunt for new Western targets, US officials tell the Washington ... More »

To Fight African Terrorism, Start by Educating Girls

Military-only strategy is doomed to fail: Malcolm Potts

(Newser) - The US and the entire world ought to be very worried about what's going in in Mali , Algeria , and the rest of the Sahel region in Africa, because things are going to get much worse without "radical new policies," writes obstetrician Malcolm Potts in the Los Angeles ... More »

Why the Algerian Gas Plant Didn't Have Armed Guards

Officials differ on whether more security could have stopped large attack

(Newser) - The companies that run the Algerian gas plant overrun by militants last week decided against deploying armed guards in the large compound, depending instead on government patrols in the area and steel wire fences for protection, reports the New York Times . Many experts think an armed force, common at many... More »

Algeria Gas-Plant Survivor Tells of Harrowing Escape

Liviu Floria, seven others wandered through the desert for hours

(Newser) - Liviu Floria began his shift at the In Amenas plant last Wednesday expecting a day like any other, but the Romanian gas worker would within days find himself wandering through the desert with seven co-workers, desperate to escape the Algerian militants who had seized the facility, reports the New York ... More »

Algeria Vows al-Qaeda Crackdown

Says Canadians masterminded raid

(Newser) - Algeria's prime minister yesterday promised that his country would dedicate itself to fighting al-Qaeda in the wake of a disastrous hostage rescue that left 38 workers dead , including three Americans. "There is clear political will" to fight terrorism, Abdelmalek Sellal told reporters. He also said that a Canadian... More »

Algeria Raid Kills 37 Hostages

Islamist attackers came from many countries, authorities say, including 2 Canadians

(Newser) - The hostages weren't the only Westerners involved in the Sahara gas plant crisis, according to Algerian authorities. Security sources say two Canadian Islamists were among the attackers found dead after the crisis came to a bloody end, Reuters reports. Authorities say the militants, who claimed the attack on behalf... More »

5 Arrested in Algeria Crisis; Death Toll at 81

Mali-based terrorist takes responsibility for attack

(Newser) - Officials in Algeria have arrested five suspects in the Algerian gas-plant hostage crisis that left at least 81 people dead, report the BBC and AP . All five are members of an Islamist group, according to a private TV channel, and Algerian officials say each hailed from one of six different... More »

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