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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 October, 2004, 12:44 GMT 13:44 UK
Algeria 'terror leader' arrested
Ammari Saifi, a former paratrooper known as Abderrezak the Para
German prosecutors have issued an arrest warrant for Saifi
Algeria has taken custody of one of its most wanted terror suspects, handed over by Libya, the government says.

Amar Saifi, known as 'Abderrezak El Para' is accused of being behind last year's kidnapping of 32 tourists from Germany and elsewhere in Europe.

The Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) he leads is allegedly linked to al-Qaeda.

He was reportedly arrested in March by rebels in Chad. It is not clear how he fell into Libyan hands.

In July, the rebel Movement for Democracy and Justice in Chad (MDJC) said that Libya had threatened to bomb their positions unless he was handed over.

Ransom demand

The GSPC is one of the last groups fighting a 12-year civil war in Algeria, in which some 150,000 people have been killed.

Germany issued an international warrant for his arrest in September 2003.

The warrant accuses him of kidnapping, extortion, membership of a foreign terrorist organisation and attempted blackmail of the German government.

Germany is reported to have paid a ransom for the hostages, but the government has refused to confirm or deny this.

The tourists were captured in small groups during a spate of kidnappings in the Sahara desert.

All but one of the hostages - a German woman who died of heat stroke - were freed.




SEE ALSO:
Libya 'threat' on terror suspect
08 Jul 04  |  Africa
Algeria says top militant killed
20 Jun 04  |  Africa
'Hostage-taker arrested' in Chad
18 May 04  |  Africa


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