2008 in Algeria

2008 in Algeria

Events from the year 2008 in Algeria



*January 17: A senior United Nations official stated that the Algerian government refused to close off the streets outside a U.N. building in Algiers despite repeated requests in the months prior to a suicide car bombing in December 2007. The blast killed 17 staff members. Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb took responsibility for the action. ["U.N. Says Algeria Ignored Security Requests Before Bombing", New York Times, January 17, 2008, pg. A13.]


*February 7: Algerian security forces killed a rebel leader and apprehended six of his associates who were suspected in a dual bombing of a court building and United Nations offices in Algiers. They are also wanted for an attack on foreign oil workers. ["Algeria Says It Killed Rebel Leader and Seized 6 in His Gang", New York Times, February 7, 2008, pg. A16.]

*February 22: The Algerian militant group, al-Qaeda, kidnapped two Austrian tourists in Tunisia. According to an audio recording released by the faction the people were seized because of western world cooperation with Israel."Algeria:115 kidnappings by militants", USA Today, Thursday, May 15, 2008, online edition.]




*May 9 & May 10: 9 Algerian government troops were killed in two separate incidents by Islamic extremists. 6 died in an ambush carried out by the North Africa wing of Al Qaeda, as the soldiers were patrolling in Medea Province. 3 others were killed by the same group in another incident in Bouira Province. The soldiers' paths were halted by 2 bombs prior to the commencement of gunfire. ["Algeria loses 9 troops to Islamist attacks", Daily Star, Wednesday, May 14, 2008, internet posting.]

*May 15: The Algerian interior minister announced that 115 people were kidnapped in Algeria in terrorist-related actions in 2007. He reported 260 additional kidnappings attributed to family disputes.

*May 18: Hundred of Algerian security forces intervened in Beriane, Algeria following three nights of clashes between Arabs and minority Berbers. 2 people were killed and dozens made homeless after violence involving rival gangs of hooded young men in the town of about 35,000. ["Arab-Berber clashes shake Algeria town", Reuters, May 18, 2008, internet posting.]

*May 19: Russia and Algeria concluded a deal in which the African nation purchased $7.5 billion in arms in return for ceding Russia gas leverage. The agreement is post-Soviet Russia's largest single arms deal. Algeria acquired fighter aircraft, tanks, and air defense systems, with the possibility of more equipment. ["Algerian Arms Deal Brings Russia $7.5 billion, Gas Market Leverage", Defense Industry Daily, May 19, 2008, online posting.]

*May 20: Algeria resumed a role as mediator in an armed conflict between Tuareg fighters and government troops in north Mali. Malian foreign minister Moctar Ouane held discussions with Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika about the strife which threatens Mali's internal stability. ["Algeria to resume mediation in N Mali conflict", China View, online posting, May 20, 2008.]

*May 20: The Moroccan Bar Association, composed of 1,200 members, called for the restoration of diplomatic ties with Algeria and the re-opening of land borders between the two nations, closed since 1994. It is thought that Algerian officials want the settlement of a thirty-three-year-old Sahara Desert conflict between Morocco and the Algerian backed Polisario Front, as a precondition to normalization of relations. ["Moroccan lawyers call for fresh bilateral ties with Algeria", Agence de Presse Africaine, May 20, 2008,internet posting.]

*May 21: Algerian state energy conglomerate, Sonatrach, estimated 2008 earnings at $81 billion if oil prices maintain their high level. The 2007 earnings amounted to $59 billion. ["Algeria sees oil earnings at $81 bn", Tehran Times, May 21, 2008, internet posting.]

*May 22: Algeria became the first country to acquire Runitel, the United States developed information and communications system. It is a component of modernizing the arms and acquisition of the latest technologies. ["National Gendarmie services acquire sophisticated Runitel communications system", El Khabar, Thursday, May 22, 2008, internet posting.]

*May 22: Algerian army troops killed two terrorists in an ambush in the Beni Douala region at Tizi Ouzou. The soldiers acted on information that the terrorists were en route to Beni Douala in a car. Two AK-74 assault rifles were recovered from the dead men. ["Army troops kill 2 terrorists and recuperate their arms in Tizi Ouzou central province", El Khabar, May 22, 2008, internet posting.]

*May 22: Ghaleb Abdullah Moussa is appointed as the new Catholic Church Archbishop of Algiers by Pope Benedict XVI. [El Khabar,May 28, 2008, internet posting.]

*May 27: A Swiss firm, Algeria Shopping Malls Company, announced plans to build 5 shopping malls in Algerian cities by 2013. The first mall will be in Bab Ezzouar, a new business square in Algiers. A second one will also be located in the capitol city, followed by additional ones in Oran, Setif, and Tlemcen. ["Swiss Company to build 5 shopping malls in Algeria by 2013", Algerie Presse Service, Tuesday, May 27, 2008, internet posting.]

*May 27: 70 policemen were injured and 150 people were arrested when partisans of Mouloudia of Oran protested their team's relegation to the 2nd division for the first time in its history. Dozens of businesses were destroyed and police clashed with angry fans in the streets. ["70 policeman injured, 150 arrested", El Khabar, Wednesday, May 28, 2008, internet article.]

*May 29: Abdelmalek Sayeh, chairman of the Algerian national office of drug taking and addiction fighting, cited foreign countries as using Algeria's youth for consumption of drugs like heroin and cocaine from Colombia. Sayeh stated that Algerian young people are being used to traffick cannabis from Morocco to Libya, Tunisia, the Middle East, and western and eastern Europe. ["Foreign countries intending making Algeria main hard drugs consumer", El Khabar, May 29, 2008, internet posting.]

*May 30: The Court of Boumerdes sentenced 14 people suspected of terrorism and possession of weapons, ammunition, and explosive materials to death in absentia. ["Algeria sentences 14 terrorists to death in absentia", chinaview, May 30, 2008, internet article.]


*June 2: The Russian Irkut (company) Corporation delivered 2 Su 30 MKA Flanker multi-role fighters to Algeria. By the terms of a 2006 contract amounting to $2.5 billion, Irkut is scheduled to deliver 28 Su 30 MKA fighters to Algeria by 2010. Irkut is part of Russia's United Aircraft Corporation (UAC). ["Russia delivers 30 Su-30 fighters to Algeria", NOVOSTI, Russian News & Information Agency, June 2,2008, internet article.]

*June 5: A suicide attack occurred in Bordj El Kiffan, eastern Algiers, in front of the main entrance of the Republican Guards barracks. Nearby a bomb exlpoded inside a cafe'. One person was killed and many others were injured. Observers suspected the two incidents were the work of Al Quaeda in the Islamic Maghreb A thirty-year-old man carried a bomb belt to the barracks near Matares Beach. He blew himself up two meters in front of the barrack's gate. ["A suicide attack against Republican Guards barracks, eastern Algiers", El Khabar, June 6, 2008, internet article.]

*June 5: Six Algerian soldiers were killed and four wounded in Cap Djinet, east of Algiers, when a roadside bomb exploded when their vehicle ran over it, returning to their barracks. ["Bomb claims 6 Algerian soldiers", Worldnews.com, June 6, 2008, internet article.]

*June 6: Algeria is cited in a United States trafficking in persons report, which specifies it as a transit nation for illegal migrants coming from southern African countries. Often these persons become involved in prostitution networks. ["Algeria in the black trafficking in persons list", El Khabar, June 6, 2008, internet posting.]

*June 8: Thirteen people were killed at a train station in Beni Amrane when two bombs exploded in a train station about sixty miles east of Algiers. The explosives were triggered by a remote control device. The first bomb killed at least two people, including a French citizen who was repairing the station's rails. He was in the process of leaving the area in a car. ["13 people killed in Algerian train station bombings, security officials say", Minneapolis Star-Tribune, June 8, 2008, internet article.]

*June 8: Algeria's national oil company, Sonatrach, and the Portuguese company, Energias de Portugal (EDP), signed a memorandum to expand their partnership outside the Iberian Peninsula. The companies hope to bring their products to Latin America. Sonatrach owns a 2.035% stake in EDP. ["Algeria's Sonatrach and Portugal's Energias sign a MoU", Algerie Presse Service, June 9, internet posting.]

*June 10: Shariket Karhaba Koudiet Edraaouch Spa (SKD), a subsidiary of Sonatrach and Sonelgaz, have said that a consortium of General Electric and Iberdrola of Spain are responsible for the construction of a power station being built in El Taref, 700 kilometers east of Algiers. The project will increase Algeria's energy capacity by 18%. ["Algerian power station construction attributed to GE-Iberdrola", Algerie Presse Service, June 11, 2008, internet article.]

*June 12: A cooperation agreement sealed by Sonatrach stipulates that a bureau of the Russian oil company, Gazprom, will open in Algiers in June. ["Gazprom to open a bureau in Algiers", El Khabar, 6-12-08, internet posting.]

*June 12: Air Algerie announced an increase of 15% in wages to become effective by June 2009. The raise for pilots and employees necessitates the allocation of $959 million. Seven trade unions defended the company's employees in negotiations with airline executives. ["Air Algerie allocates 959 million for wage increase", El Khabar, June 12, 2008, internet article.]

*June 15: Four people suspected of complicity in the deaths of six Algerian soldiers were arrested in Cap Djinet in the coastal province of Boumerdes, They admitted to attacking an army troops patrol in Cap Djinet on June 5. ["4 People suspected of being behind 6 Army troops killings arrested in Boumerdes", El Khabar, June 16, 2008, internet article.]

*June 15: The president of the pharmaceutical sector in Algeria, Lofti Ben Ahmed, said that Algerian medicines are subject to being smuggled into Morocco and Tunisia even though control measures have been set up at all borders. Medicines imported into Algeria are being sold illegally in Oujda. Medicines are nonrefundable in Morocco because social insurance is nonexistent there. ["Algerian imported medicines smuggled to Tunisia and Morocco", El Khabar, June 16, 2008, internet posting.]

*June 15: The Algerian navy apprehended twenty-four Algerians attempting to enter Europe by boat from Oran. ["24 Algerians caught trying to steal into Europe", Algerie Presse Service, June 15, 2008, internet article.]

*June 16: NATO proposed a unilateral counterterrorism program for Algeria which would include seven hundred troops, with coordination of military and information activities. The training of military officials would be conducted at the defense academy in Rome, Italy. ["NATO proposes a unilateral counterterrorism programme to Algeria", El Khabar, June 17, 2008, internet article.]

*June 16: A 2008 people census revealed that there are approximately 35 million people in Algeria, with a growth rate of 1.72% from 1998 "-" 2008. ["35 million people in Algeria", El Khabar, June 17, 2008, internet article.]

*June 17: Three Moroccans affiliated with Al Quaeda in the Islamic Maghreb were detained three weeks ago and have been transfered to Serkadji prison in Algiers. The three said that they carried arms against the United States as well as working to overthrow the "pro U.S. monarchy" in Morocco. It is unsure whether they will be tried in Algeria or Morocco. ["Three Moroccans belonging to Al Quaeda referred to Serkadji prison", El Khabar, June 18, 2008, internet posting.]

*June 17: An investigative team has been formed to inquire into scandals affecting Algerian hospitals. The committee will submit a detailed report to President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in the coming months. The investigation has been prompted by complaints of poor treatment of patients and bad hospital working conditions. ["Investigation committee to investigate scandals shaking hospitals", El Khabar, June 18, 2008, internet article.]

*June 18: Production workers at Sonatrach threaten an indefinite strike unless their demands for wage increases and other grievances are not met. ["Sonatrach's employees threaten launching a strike in gas plants", El Khabar, June 19, 2008, internet posting.]

*June 18: Algerian Prime Minister Abdelaziz Belkhadem revealed in an interview with Le Monde that his country would object to some provisions of the Union For The Mediterranean Project proposed by Nicolas Sarkozy. One of these was an agreement to normalize relations with Israel. Belkhadem stated that President Bouteflika did not desire a life term and supported democratic elections in which Algerians would be free to select from a number of candidates. ["Algeria's reservations on Sarkozy project", El Khabar, June 19, 2008, internet posting.]

*June 19: Tayeb Louh, Algerian Labour, Employment and Social Security minister, said that there are more than one million unemployed in Algeria and 300,000 new job seekers annually. ["Over one million unemployed in Algeria", Algerie Presse Service, June 20, 2008, internet article.]

*June 21: Algerian security forces killed an armed Islamist near Tizi-Ouzou, in the town of Akaouadj, 110 kilometers east of Algiers. An automatic gun, documents, and ammunition were seized by the government forces. ["Armed Islamist Killed In Algeria", Times of India, June 21, 2008, internet article.]

*June 24: Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansoori, the head of the Algeria-United Arab Emirates joint committee, said that the Emirates will invest $50 billion in Algeria by 2010. Saeed stated that the Algerian party could determine projects for investment in the agricultural sector in the upcoming years. ["Emirates to invest 50 billions in Algeria by 2010", El Khabar, June 25, 2008, internet posting.]

*June 25: Algeria is experiencing a shortage of 25 important medicines including those which treat blood pressure, gynecology, and heart disease. ["Scarcity of 25 vital medicines", El Khabar, June 26, 2008, internet article.]

*June 29: Algerian and Palestinian authorities signed a tax exemption agreement in Algiers which favors Palestinian products in a resolution to support the Palestinian economy. ["Algerian-Palestinian agreement on tax exemption for Palestinian products", Algerie Presse Service, June 30, 2008, internet article.]

*June 29: The Algerian civil defence announced that the number of professional divers available to the country's beaches would be raised to 500 in the coming years. ["Civil Defence: Professional divers' number to reach 500 in coming years", Algerie Presse Service, June 30 2008, internet posting.]

*June 29: Houcine Zehouane revealed that Mohamed Boudia supervised a secret organization in Algiers following the military coup which ousted former Algerian president Ahmed Ben Bella. Boudia was prosecuted and forced to leave Algeria to avoid imprisonment. He was murdered by the Israeli Mossad on June 28, 1973. Mossad was assisted by French intelligence. Zehouane spoke at a conference organized by Boudia's sons which was associated with the Art et Culture institution. ["Zehouane discloses exciting details about Boudia's death; Mossad and French intelligence got rid of him", El Khabar, June 30, 2008, internet article.]

*June 30: President Bouteflika donated $150,000 to the Clayton County, Iowa Disaster Relief Committee, to assist the town of Elkader, Iowa in its recovery from the June 2008 flooding. Elkader is named after Emil Abdelkader (1832 "-" 1847), an Algerian freedom fighter. ["Elkader receives $150,000 in flood relief from Algeria", Daily Telegraph, Dubuque, Iowa, Tuesday, July 1, 2008, internet posting.]


*July 1: A court in Oran overturned the 2006 defamation conviction of a reporter and her newspaper supervisor. Salima Tiemcani and Omar Belhouchet were each fined approximately $790 after an investigation into drug trafficking in the western region of Algeria, which was considered defamatory. The overturning of their sentence after an appeal filed on June 7 is "a first in the annals of Algerian justice." ["Algerian court quashes conviction of reporter", The Daily Star (Lebanon), July 1, 2008, internet edition.]

*July 2: Mustafa Hamlily, 49, of Bashare, Algeria, and Abdul Raham Hourari, 28, of Algiers, became the first Algerians to be liberated from the Guantanamo Bay detention center since it was opened by the United States Department of Defense in January 2002. ["First Algerians repatriated", Miami Herald, July 3, 2008, internet article.]

*July 8: Algerian Minister of Communication Abderrachid Boukerzaza announced an increase in government contribution to Company for Housing and low-cost housing construction in Shelter Afrique by $1.5 million, to $4.6 million. Earlier Algeria had contributed $3.1 million. ["Algeria's contribution in "Shelter Afrique capital up to $4.6 million", Algerie Presse Service, July 9, 2008, internet article.]

*July 8: Sonatrach acquired a new LNG tanker named "Cheikh Bouamama", which will serve to deliver natural gas to Mediterranean basin markets. It is 75,500 m3 with four reservoirs. It was delivered in Japan in the Universal Shipbuilding yard. ["Sonatrach takes delivery of a new LNG tanker", Algerie Presse Service, July 9, 2008, internet posting.]

*July 17: The Algerian national gendarmerie announced that there were 11,336 road accidents in the first half of 2008. These accounted for 1,600 deaths and 19,396 injuries. The figures revealed a significant increase in road accidents when compared with the first half of 2007. The mortality rate rose 7.24%, injuries jumped 7.99%, and the number of road accidents went up by 5%. ["Road accidents: 1,600 killed and 19,396 wounded in 1st half of 2008", Algerie Presse Service, July 18, 2008, internet article.]

*July 18: The United States Treasury activated measures to freeze the assets of four Algerians who are believed to be leaders of a group with al Qaeda affiliations. The four are considered to be responsible for bombings which caused deaths in Algeria in June 2008. ["U.S. seeks assets freeze on al Qaeda-linked Algerians", WNED-TV.org, July 17, 2008, internet posting.]

*July 22: Oran recently hosted its second annual Arab Film Festival. Algerian producers and critics contend that there is quite a way to go before the Algerian film community returns to the form which produced The Battle of Algiers in the 1960s. However, European film enthusiasts have noticed a revival of the film industry in North Africa. ["Reviving Algeria's Once-Robust Cinema Industry", NPR Morning Edition, July 22, 2008, NPR website article.]

*July 28: Pied noirs or "black feet", French settlers who left Algeria following its independence in 1962, are returning in large numbers to see the country where they were born and raised. ["Pied-noirs step back to former colony", Radio Netherlands Wereldomroep, July 28, 2008, internet posting.]


*August 5: The North African wing of Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for a car bomb which wounded 25 people, including 4 policemen, in Tizi Ouzou. The bomb exploded near a police station. Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb identified the bomber as Makhlouf Abou Mariam. His truck carried 600 kg. of an unspecified explosive. ["Al Aqaeda wing behind deadly Algeria suicide bomb", http://www.gulfnews.com, August 6, 2008, internet article.]

*August 10: A suicide bombing in Zemmouri Al Bahri killed at least eight people. The coastal town is 45 kilometers from Algiers. ["Suicide bombing in Algeria kills 8", Gulfnews, August 11, 2008, internet posting.]

*August 11: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad held talks with Bouteflika on ways to expand bilateral relations between Iran and Algeria. Among many issues the two discussed the formation of an OPEC type gas group. ["Iran and Algeria to discuss gas group", Inside World News, August 12, 2008, internet article.]

*August 11: The Protestant Church of Algeria [EPA] debated whether to obey government orders which have closed more than fifty Protestant Churches in the country during the past six months. ["Undue Attention in Algeria", Today's Christian Woman, August 12, 2008, online posting.]

*August 22: The North African branch of Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for attacks on a police academy, a military barracks, and a Canadian engineering firm. These were retaliatory actions against security forces which had killed a number of young Mujahedeen or "holy warriors". Salah Abu Mohammad, an Al Qaeda spokesman, delivered a taped message to the Al Jazeera news channel. The attacks claimed up to sixty lives in Algeria. ["Al Qaeda claims responsibility for Algeria attacks", Casper Star-Tribune, August 22, 2008, internet article.]

*August 30: Islamic militants beheaded a patron of a bootleg bar in the town of Boghni, near Tizi Ouzou on August 29. The terrorists were disguised as police officers and murdered the man because he was a prison guard. Other bar patons were robbed by the members of the group. An Algerian -born emigrant was kidnapped in an attempt to win ransom. It is uncertain whether the militants targeted the bar because it served alcohol or they just wanted to rob it. ["Reports: 9 killed in Algerian violence", http://www.PR-inside.com, August 30, 2008, internetarticle.]


*September 6: United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with Algeria's foreign minister during her three day visit to North Africa. The visit came at a time when Algeria was experiencing a surge in terror attacks. ["Condoleezza Rice meets officials in Algeria", PR-inside, September 5, 2008, internet article.]

*September 9: SNASCO appointed the Kun Won architecture firm of South Korea to design the SNASCO mega waterfront project in Oran, Algeria. ["SNASCO appoints Korean Kun Won as architects consultant for Algeria mega project", AME, September 10, 2008,internet posting.]

*September 11: Algerian President Bouteflika congratulated two Algerian judokas after they won gold medals at the 2008 Summer Paralympics. ["President congratulates Algerian Paralympic gold medalists", People's Daily, September 10, 2008.]

*September 20: Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia expressed his desire to strengthen strategic cooperation between Algeria and China. ["Algeria hopes to deepen strategic cooperation with China", People's Daily, September 19, 2008, internet posting.]

*September 24: Algerian President Bouteflika remained silent regarding his decision on seeking an unprecedented third term. ["Algeria's Bouteflika silent on third term", United Press International, September 24, 2008, internet article.]

*September 26: The government of Algeria donated $2 million in aid to Cuba to assist the Cuban people recover from the devastation left following the passage of Hurricane Gustav and Hurricane Ike. ["Two Millions in Aid from Algeria to Cuba", Prensa Latina, September 25, 2008, internet article.]

*September 29: A suicide bomber killed three people and injured six in the Dellys area of Boumerdes on Sunday, September 28. The region is thirty miles east of Algiers. The incident occurred at a checkpoint during Iftar. ["Suicide bomber kills 3 near Algerian capitol",
Associated Press, September 29, 2008, internet posting.


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