The assassination of a French tourist by militants in Algeria has raised the fear of new terrorist attacks in the country. HervÃ© Gourdel, 55, was beheaded on September 24 by a radical Islamist group, ”˜Soldiers of the Caliphate’ linked to Islamic State in Iraq, in the north-eastern region of Kabylie.
Gourdel, who was an experienced hiker, was kidnapped on September 21, along with 5 Algerians, but his companions were released 14 hours later.
His murder has sparked a wave of indignation and anger, notably via social media. It reminds Algeria and the world of the civil war of the 1990s, also known as ”˜”˜The Black Decade’’ when more than 150,000 people died violently, while thousands of others went missing. This followed the annulment of an election won by an Islamist group, after which the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) sought to gain power, opposed by the Algerian military.
Now, members of the Christian community in Bejaia, one of the main cities in Kabylie, are particularly concerned over the threats posed by militants. “If we consider the fate reserved by IS fighters for Iraqi Christians, there is genuine reason to express concerns over the church in Algeria. That is why we must be vigilant,’’ said Omar, 31, member of a Protestant church in Bejaia.