11 years later, the trial of the Tiguentourine terrorist attack opens in Algiers

11 years later the trial of the Tiguentourine terrorist attack

The trial into the terrorist attack on the Tiguentourine gas site near In Amenas in southeastern Algeria is due to open this Monday in Algiers. Four defendants will appear for membership in an armed terrorist group, hostage-taking, premeditated intentional homicide, ambush and damage to state property. For 3 days in January 2013, a commando of armed men took the site’s employees hostage until the Algerian authorities reacted with a muscular rescue operation.

3 mins

At dawn on January 16, around forty jihadists aboard around ten 4x4s entered the Tiguentourine oil site, not far from In Amenas, a town in the desert near the Libyan border. Nearly 700 employees (550 Algerians and more than 130 expatriates of 26 nationalities) work and live in this complex owned by British Petroleum and the Algerian Petroleum Company.

The commando of the signatories by blood, a dissident group of al-Qaeda, takes employees hostage while seeking to target foreigners. The terrorists are demanding an end to the anti-jihadist operation that the France leads to Mali neighbor. The attack is remotely piloted by the terrorist Moktar Belmoktar. He will be killed during an air raid inLibya in 2015.

Read alsoTen years after the In Amenas attack, Algeria has not spared its security efforts

Faced with the jihadists, the Algerian authorities refuse to negotiate and we must act quickly because the terrorists are threatening to explode the site. Thus, twice, on January 17 and January 19, the Algerian army attacked.

Family questions

During these rescue operations, more than thirty terrorists were neutralized and others arrested. Many lives are saved. The offensive is a military success for the authorities because it allows the resumption of the gas complex.

But families of victims denounce too many civilian deaths. In total, 38 employees were killed, most of them executed by the terrorists, but for some, doubt persists even 11 years after the events. Are they collateral victims or were they murdered by the terrorists? The trial which opens this Monday will perhaps provide answers about the circumstances of these deaths.

Questions persist in particular around the death of Yann Desjeux, the only Frenchman to die today. Aged 53 at the time of the events, this former French special forces retrained in gas site security was the first to sound the alarm. Witnesses claim that during the hostage situation, he was on the front line helping employees unaccustomed to this type of stressful and frightening situation and even treated an injured person.

His lifeless body was found by the Algerian soldiers after the liberation of the gas site. And for 11 years, his sister Marie-Claude Desjeux has been fighting for the memory of her brother. This Monday, she will be in Algiers for the trial with the hope that all light will be shed on what really happened in In Amenas.

The trial is expected to last a week in the presence of survivors and victims’ families, many of whom traveled from abroad for the occasion. A. Derrouiche alias Abou al-Bara, who is one of the fighters involved in the attack, will appear with three other defendants before the criminal court of Dar El-Beïda in Algiers.