Terrorists may target more Algerian energy sites if the government represses protests by Saharan populations and ignores their demands, according to the Combating Terrorism Center at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York.
“Militants may prey upon the despair that results when peaceful means of struggle are repressed or remain unaddressed,” Hannah Armstrong says in an analysis of last year’s terror attack on Algeria’s In Amenas natural gas field, to be published next week in the CTC Sentinel. The CTC, which receives private funding, lists Occidental Petroleum Corp. as one of its “primary supporters,” according to the center’s website.
“Extractive industries in southern Algeria are a central focus of a well-organized, largely peaceful social movement for justice and livelihoods, the repression and ignoring of which risks further fueling radicalization,” she said.
The January 2013 attack on In Amenas by militants linked to al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, killed 38 foreign workers. BP Plc and Statoil ASA operated the field. Algeria has the largest proven gas reserves in Africa after Nigeria, according to data from BP, and is a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.