Gas Facility Operators at the Hostage Site in Algeria Didn’t Have Armed Guards Inside the Complex

by Colonel on January 23, 2013

“Until the siege on the remote In Amenas facility … dozens of North African desert camps were thought to be virtually impregnable, with steel-wire fences, long-range reconnaissance equipment and army patrols.

Armed with mortars, grenade launchers and .50-caliber machine guns, the militants were an overwhelming force.

An Algerian official, who requested anonymity because of the delicacy of the matter, said the attack was conducted in the dark by a heavily armed force that moved quickly over the border from Libya, making it hard for security forces to repel.

Algerian law prohibits armed foreign security personnel, but it permits private Algerian armed guards. The operators of the gas facility — a joint venture by BP, the Norwegian company Statoil and the Algerian national oil company Sonatrach — decided to rely solely on the many Algerian gendarmes and soldiers who patrolled the In Amenas area.

” — Clifford Krause and Nicholas Kulish, Copyright 2013 The New York Times Company

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