- Title: ALGERIA: Algerian villagers demand kidnappers free elderly man
- Date: 8th April 2010
- Summary: MAN READING NEWSPAPER WITH ARTICLE ON FRONT PAGE ABOUT THE MOBILISATION OF THE LOCALS AGAINST THE KIDNAPPING
- Embargoed: 23rd April 2010 13:00
- Location: Algeria
- Country: Algeria
- Reuters ID: LVACNP3I69VER0NPXT1GC3FN7C86
- Story Text: Hassani Ali was abducted on March 22, villagers from Mechtrass, Bounouh, Mendess and Tirmitine are all calling for the man they know as 'Uncle Ali' to be released by the kidnappers free from harm.
Villagers from the Boghni area in Algeria are joining together and calling on kidnappers to release a friend and fellow villager Hassani Ali.
The local community is committed to freeing the man they know as 'Uncle Ali'. Ali was kidnapped on March 22 and locals describe him as a successful entrepreneur.
Villagers from a number of areas want the 83 year-old man to be released without having to pay a ransom.
Among those campaigning for the release of Hassani Ali is his 79 year old friend Aoudar Mohammed.
"The mobilization was organised in order to free him. If they don't free him, we cannot do anything, we don't have weapons, so we cannot do anything," said Mohammed looking out to the Kabylia mountains where villagers believe their friend is being held.
Locals from the region said they want a peaceful solution to the problem, but said they are not receiving any assistance from the state.
"The state can't do anything. It can't go to the mountains, because it's very dangerous," said Mohammed.
The region is considered dangerous and believed to be used as a base by Al Qaeda's North African Wing.
But even though the region may be perilous it has not stopped villagers from Mechtrass, Bounouh, Mendess and Tirmitine uniting and searching the forest and mountainous region themselves. They want Hassani Ali to be released swiftly and free from harm.
"The mobilisation was organised in order to stop these kidnappings and also to let people continue to live their lives. This person is rich, he made his fortune from being a contractor. They already kidnapped several rich people who paid the ransom and they freed them. This one refused to pay. They demand a lot of money three billion centimes, it's a lot of money," said one 29 year old villager, citing the equivalent of 300,000 Euros.
Several kidnappings have happened in the area and locals are being urged to remain calm.
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