PM denies Islamic State group presence in Algeria

AP News
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Posted: Oct 20, 2014 1:44 PM

IN GUEZZAM, Algeria (AP) — Algeria's prime minister insists the radical Islamic State group has no presence in Algeria, despite the recent kidnapping and beheading of a French hiker.

Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal told journalists during a visit Monday to Algeria's extreme south that North Africa "does not know of the Islamic State group."

Last month Frenchman Herve Gourdel was killed by a group once linked to al-Qaida's North Africa branch that now pledges its allegiance to the Islamic State group, which has taken over parts of Iraq and Syria.

Sellal said he was visiting Algeria's remote border with Niger to see how the region was developing and to express support for the army border guards.

The desert border region of Algeria, Niger and Mali is a haven for smugglers as well as al-Qaida-linked extremists.