(MENAFN - Morocco World News) Recordings of phone conversations released by Medi TV on Sunday appear to show a relationship between the Algerian army and the terrorist group that carried out the In Amenas hostage crisis in 2013.
A special episode on the Moroccan television channel titled Algeria…From War to Coordinating with Terrorist Groups' aired several recordings suggesting coordination between Algerian forces and the Algerian terrorist Mukhtar Belmokhtar. Belmokhtar is the commander of a terrorist group operating in the Maghreb called the Masked Brigade as known in Arabic as 'Those who Sign with Blood.' The man – who according to the Libyan government was killed by a U.S. drone strike in in the country in 2015 – served as a commander for Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb before he began the Masked Brigade in late 2012. The conversation occurred on January 17th 2013 during the In Amenas hostage crisis in which Belmokhtar and his brigade attacked the Tigantourine gas facility in eastern Algeria and took more than 800 Algerian and foreign workers hostage. By the time Algerian security forces ended the crisis at least 38 workers were killed. Belmokhtar tells one of his accomplice hostage-takers to show restraint in killing foreign hostages during the first recording Hespress reported. The next phone conversation which occurred five hours after the first includes the voice of another member of the Masked Brigade reporting that Algerian forces had 'betrayed' them by bombing the group from a helicopter even though the army had confirmed that its forces had left the area. Another recording revealed a conversation between a regional Algerian army commander and a general discussing arrangements for the In Amenas incident the newspaper reported. A fourth phone conversation between two high-level Algerian officials – a colonel and a general – points to the existence of 'understandings' between the Algerian army and the terrorist organization.