Terrorists Benefit from Algeria’s Reluctance to Engage in Regional Security Cooperation
Terrorist groups are the biggest beneficiary of the unwillingness of Algerian authorities to engage in sincere cooperation with Morocco, said Abdelhak Khiame head of Morocco’s counter-terrorism agency (BCIJ).
Speaking to weekly magazine “Jeune Afrique”, Khiame reiterated the call on Algeria to engage in collective efforts to combat terrorism, noting that the absence of regional cooperation puts strain on Moroccan security services.
He also deplored that Algerian authorities remain apologetic to the Polisario’s criminal activities and warned of the separatist group’s connivance with terrorist groups in a region where the dividing lines between terrorism, separatism and trafficking are blurred.
Khiame said that hundreds of Polisario members have joined the ranks of Al Qaida in the Maghreb and have been involved in attacks on northern Mauritania.
Concerning the pro-active approach adopted by Moroccan authorities in the fight against terrorism, Khiame said that the terrorist cells busted in Morocco dropped from 21 in 2015 and 19 in 2016 to only 9 in 2017.
“Our strategy has always been based on anticipation and prevention, and it has proven efficiency” he said, noting that the terrorist risk is still present in Morocco.
The BCIJ head said that 1,668 Moroccans have joined ISIS, and that “some were killed in the fight against the coalition forces, but we do not have, for now, an idea about their number”.
“All these individuals are known to our services and will be arrested if they try to return to the country,” he said.