Algeria – Two Italians and a Canadian have been kidnapped near the Libyan-Algerian border by an Algerian extremist, according to resources.
The resources added that head of tribes in the southern region on the Libyan-Algerian border have been conducting negotiations with the kidnapper so that they can release the Italians and the Canadian safe and sound.
The Italian Il Giornale newspaper disclosed Monday that the two abducted Italian nationals in Libya’s Ghat are held by an Algerian extremist, Abdullah Balkehil.
Belkehil asked for 4 million euros as a ransom to release the two technicians who work for the Libyan branch of Italian firm Contratti internazionali Costruzioni SpA managing maintenance in Libya.
The Italian newspaper confirmed that according to Algerian intelligence, the two Italians are still in southern Libya on the borders with Algeria along with the Canadian national, who was kidnapped with them as well.
Il Giornale reported Aoun Ibrahim Salem, sec-gen of the armed forces of the parliament in Torbuk, saying that the forces are working with the Italian intelligence on the hope that the three men will be released within a week.
The newspaper also said that Belkehil is well-known with the Algerian intelligence and had a previous attack in southern Algeria last March.
The newspaper added that Belkehil’s purpose is to proof to extremist leaders that he is reliable and can be depended upon.
No official source claimed responsibility for the abduction, while reports added that Belkehil returned to his terrorist methods after benefiting from the political project launched by the President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in 2006. The project grants terrorists amnesty of all their previous actions given that they surrender themselves. Algerian security services said that about 2,000 extremists surrendered themselves, but 600 returned to previous methods.
The Italian government said it “has been informed of the situation and has been following up on developments from the moment it learnt of the case.”