Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, Spain Foreign Minister, announced that Spain began on Sunday repatriating all of its aid workers and three other foreign nationals from the Tindouf camps in western Algeria, because of “serious indications of the growing insecurity” and the possibility of launching terrorist acts against foreign nationals.
The Foreign Minister confirmed in a press conference that 12 Spaniards, two French nationals and an Italian are expected to land in Torrejon military air base in Madrid early Sunday while two aid workers, a Spaniard and a Peruvian, have already returned to Spain by their personal means.
The Spanish government has already warned their Spaniard nationals last year not to go to Tindouf out of fear of the growing insecurity and kidnapping in these areas by the mercenaries. It called for its nationals to cancel all their expected trips to the Sahara regions because of the lack of security measures to protect foreigners.
According to the Spanish Foreign Minister, the decision of repatriating all aid workers had been taken after reviewing “well-founded evidence of a serious increase in insecurity in the region.”
Ten days ago, the Tawhid and Jihad – split from al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb- which is active in the territory of Azawad, northern Mali, released three hostages – Spaniards Enric Gonyalons , Ainhoa Fernandez del Rincon and Italian Rossella Urru- who were kidnapped in the heart of Tindouf camps in southwest Algeria on 23 October last year.
In the silence of the international community, these Tindouf camps remain a safe haven for many transnational terrorist networks, gangs of smugglers, and weapon and drug dealers that pose a serious threat on the neighboring countries.