April 30, 2003

MISSING TOURIST UPDATE: According to this report, they’ve been found:

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — Thirty-one European tourists who vanished in the Sahara Desert are being held hostage by terrorist groups, a ranking Algerian official said Wednesday.

The official said the tourists had been located by the Algerian army. Some 5,000 Algerian troops and 300 local guides were brought in to track down the tourists. . . .

No one has claimed responsibility for the disappearances, and there has been wide speculation about who might be behind them.

A name that regularly surfaces in the press is Mokhtar Benmokhtar, an Islamic insurgent thought to be a trafficker in arms, vehicles or cigarettes in the vast desert region between Algeria, Niger, Mali and Mauritania.

Interesting. I think there’s more involved in this region than mere cigarette smuggling. I think someone’s trying to set up a shadow state.