Hostage Taking in the Sahara
As the hostage crisis at the Ansema gas field in Algeria continues, fingers are being pointed at Mokhtar Belmokhtar – the one-eyed al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist – as the mastermind behind the attack.
If Belmokhtar is indeed responsible, it wouldn’t be the first time he has taken captives. A former commander with al-Qaida in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Belmokhtar has been connected to numerous kidnappings where individuals were held for ransom.
It was Belmokhtar who took Canadian diplomat Robert Fowler hostage in 2008. Fowler, who was working with the UN at the time, was held by the AQIM for 130 days in the Sahara before his release was negotiated. Watch the video below to hear Fowler describe his ordeal in an interview with OpenCanada.org in 2011.