Before Ramadan, Algerian Army Scouts Desert of Southern Border

Article Summary
The Algerian army has launched a series of patrol missions across the country’s southern frontier. Mohamad Ben Ahmad reports that these missions are not the result of the recent terrorist attack in the city of Rafla, but are meant to prevent terrorist and smuggling groups from taking advantage of the scorching heat and the holy month of Ramadan.

The Algerian army has launched patrols across Algeria’s southern provinces, scouting desert transport corridors in search of SUV tire tracks or bunkers used by terrorists in their operations. Thousands of soldiers are involved in the scouting operations, and hundreds of military vehicles along with dozens of helicopters have been called into action.
According to a prominent source close to the Algerian security apparatus, the scouting operations which were launched on June 29 are not a result of the terrorist attack that took place in the city of Rafla. The military operations, which will continue for another three weeks, aim to pre-empt any potential terrorist attack in July and during the month of Ramadan.

The army’s leadership has provided dozens of military vehicles and fighting equipment in order to scout clandestine routes and desert corridors used by terrorist groups. It also issued a set of warnings regarding potential terrorist operations during the month of Ramadan. Terrorists are likely to take advantage of the intense heat and fasting time to move across the desert and carry out surprise military operations against the army and gendarmerie. The Ministry of Defense mobilized additional troops along the southern border with Mali and Niger in an attempt to stem increasing smuggling operations and make up for the lower numbers of Malian and Nigerien troops along the border. Many troops have pulled back due to the intense heat.

According to informed sources, the Supreme Commission of the Ministries of Defense and Interior, the National Gendarmerie and the Directorate General for National Security convened in June following the issuance of a confidential security report. The report warned that smuggling gangs and terrorist groups are likely to take advantage of high temperature in Ain Fazam, Burk Baji al-Mukhtar and the valley of Tafsest that separates between Algeria and Niger, and in the region of Akapaw on the Algerian-Libyan border, to ratchet up smuggling operations and terrorist attacks. This was the case in the Tinzouatine area nearly a year ago.

Our sources said that given the desert’s vast expanse and the scorching temperatures — which will rise to 122 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees Celcius) in some locations in the far south — the Ministries of Interior and Defense have laid down a new security plan to enforce the rule of law on the southern border.

The new measures will grant military personnel and gendarmes additional hours of rest during the months of July and August — the time marking the holy month of Ramadan this year. The number of military personnel will be increased in the border areas. For this purpose, the General Staff of the National Popular Army, the Gendarmerie, the Directorate of the National Security and the Directorate of Customs have sent leaders and senior officials to oversee the new security plans. The army staff and officials in the logistics, transport and provision fields have inspected the military sites in the far south.

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Found in: niger, patrols, tuareg, terrorist attacks, terrorism, mali, algerian army, al qaeda, aqim
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