Terrorism

Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Algeria, including kidnappings. Terrorist attacks have focussed on the Algerian state, but attacks could be indiscriminate and include foreigners. There’s also a risk that lone actors target foreigners. You should be vigilant at all times and take additional security precautions.

The main terrorist threat is from Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQ-M) and other regional Islamist groups including Al Murabitun and Daesh-affiliates. There’s also a threat from individuals inspired by Daesh. These groups have been active across the country and pose a threat throughout Algeria, including in Algiers and other major cities.

The Algerian authorities continue to conduct effective counter terrorism operations to disrupt terrorist activity but there’s a continuing threat of further terrorist attacks. You should be vigilant at all times.

There have been attacks against Algerian government interests and security forces:

  • on 31 August 2017, 2 police officers were killed during a suicide attack on the regional police headquarters building in Tiaret, 130km south-west of Algiers. Daesh is reported to have claimed responsibility.
  • on 26 February 2017, 2 police officers were injured during an attempted suicide attack on a police station in central Constantine.
  • on 28 October 2016 a police officer was killed, also in Constantine. Both this and the 26 February 2017 attack were claimed by Daesh.

Foreign and economic interests, including oil and gas facilities, have also been attacked:

  • on 18 March 2016, AQ-M attacked the In Salah Gas Joint Venture in central Algeria with explosive munitions fired from a distance. There were no injuries or casualties.
  • other incidents have included the AQ-M attacks on Algerian armed forces in Ain Defla on 17 July 2015 and Tizi Ouzou on 19 April 2014.
  • on 16 January 2013 Al Murabitun attacked a gas plant near In Amenas killing 40 foreign workers, including 6 British nationals.

Kidnap

There is a kidnap threat to visitors in Algeria, particularly in the southern and eastern border areas (bordering Mali and Libya respectively). Terrorist kidnappers have previously targeted foreigners, government officials and civilians in Algeria and the Sahel region. See our Sahel page for information on the Sahel regional threat.

There is a threat of kidnapping by groups operating in North Africa, particularly from Libya, Mauritania and groups originating in the Sahel. This includes Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQ-IM) and Daesh-affiliated groups, who may travel across the region’s porous border. There is a heightened risk of kidnap in border and remote desert areas of North Africa. Terrorist groups have kidnapped foreigners, government officials and civilians in the region for financial gain and for political leverage. Further kidnaps are likely.

Those engaged in tourism, humanitarian aid work, journalism or business sectors are viewed as legitimate targets. If you’re kidnapped, the reason for your presence is unlikely to serve as a protection or secure your safe release.

The long-standing policy of the British government is not to make substantive concessions to hostage takers. The British government considers that paying ransoms and releasing prisoners increases the risk of further hostage taking. The Terrorism Act (2000) also makes payments to terrorists illegal.

There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. Find out more about the global threat from terrorism, how to minimise your risk and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack.