Al Qaida exploiting resentment against some 700,000 Chinese workers in Algeria
CAIRO — The Al Qaida network is trying to whip up sentiment against the growing Chinese workforce in Algeria.
Algerian security sources said the Al Qaida Organization in the Islamic
Maghreb seeks to take advantage of the growing Asian labor
force's impact on Algerians.
The sources said AQIM's focus has been the hundreds of
thousands of Chinese nationals contracted to build highways, energy and
The Algerian government has not released accurate statistics on the
Chinese presence, Middle East Newsline reported. Analysts said the Chinese population in Algeria could
Also In This Edition
"The Chinese presence is very visible and plays on fears of a foreign
takeover," a security source said.
On Aug. 4, Algerians and Chinese laborers fought with bludgeons and
knives in the capital Algiers. About 100 people participated in street
battles, capping what was termed unprecedented tension in the North African
state. Algerian Muslims were also said to have been angered by the Chinese
consumption of liquor.
Over the last year, AQIM has targeted Chinese laborers, particularly
those involved in government projects. In July 2009, Beijing warned its
nationals of an AQIM offensive amid Muslim clashes in China.
The sources said AQIM has also been targeting French and other Western
laborers in Algeria, which has an unemployment rate of 70 percent. French
companies have been involved in energy and security projects.