The Mali War
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|Bernard Banks||January 18th 2013|
British Prime Minister David Cameron says Algerian forces are still pursuing Islamist militants and attempting to free hostages at a remote Sahara Desert gas complex.
Cameron told lawmakers in London Friday he has spoken with Algeria's prime minister, who said that the crisis sparked by al-Qaida-linked militants is not over.
"He said that the terrorists had tried to flee, that they judged there to be an immediate threat to the lives of the hostages and had felt obliged to respond. When I spoke to to the Algerian prime minister later last night he told me that this first operation was complete," Cameron said. "But this is a large and complex site and they are still pursuing terrorists and possibly some of the hostages in other areas of the site."
Offers for help ignored
Algerian forces ignored offers of foreign help on Thursday, storming the facility two days after the militants seized dozens of hostages, including many foreigners.
In France, French Interior Minister Manuel Valls also raised concerns about militant groups and links to Europe. ``For years, there have been French jihadis who have gone to fight a war in Afghanistan, in Syria, and a very small handful in the Sahel. They are obviously being watched by our intelligence agencies,'' he added. There are also growing concerns in the United States. U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is in London and met with Prime Minister Cameron for 45 minutes on Friday. He made no comment afterward. At least six foreign captives have been confirmed safe by their governments -- three Japanese, two French workers and an Irishman.