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Algeria increases military presence as reports Baghdadi is in town

Algeria’s Chief of Staff and Deputy Defence Minister, Ahmed Gaid Salah [Johnny Bivera/Wikipedia]

Algeria’s Chief of Staff and Deputy Defence Minister, Ahmed Gaid Salah, is on a three day visit to the country’s 6th Military Region in Tamanrasset to ensure everything is in order following rumours Daesh leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi is in the region.

Salah supervised yesterday’s military exercises in the Guezzam Operational Sector, according to a statement released by the Ministry of National Defence (DND).

“The idea of the exercise is to repel an attempt at an enemy attack against our national borders. This exercise has been carried out with a high level of professionalism that reiterates the effectiveness of training and combat and the readiness across all units.”

The visit of the chief of staff in the south of the country comes just days after rumours spread of Al-Baghdadi’s presence in the turbulent Sahel region. It had been reported that Al-Baghdadi had fled the Syrian-Iraqi region to seek refuge “on the borders of Chad, Niger and Libya”.

Read: Algerian imams prepare for returning Daesh militants

Two of the three countries mentioned share borders with Algeria.

The visit by Salah is to ensure a strategy is in place against any terrorist threat the country faces and to reassure the public of the readiness of the Algerian National People’s Army (ANP) to ward off any threats.

Questions have also been raised on whether Algeria is acting following rumours or has intelligence confirming Al-Baghdadi’s presence in the region.

Algeria regularly undertakes anti-terror operations across the country, arresting individuals linked to terror cells and confiscating weapons and materials used for bomb making. The competence of these operations is to ensure Algeria’s intolerance of anything that threatens its national security following a bloody civil war in the 1990’s that killed over 200,000.

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