North Africa violence shakes up three countries

January 28, 2013
January 28, 2013

Turbulence roiled three countries of North Africa in a fifth day of deadly street violence in Egypt, the explosion of a pipeline in Algeria, and more fighting in Mali.

The surge of trouble follows a long, worrying buildup of Islamic militants across a strip of North Africa known as the Sahel, an area that has attracted much interest from metals miners and hydrocarbon companies. Global oil markets so far seem unfazed, as Brent crude prices fell slightly in early trading to $113.19 a barrel.

Yet in Egypt, President Mohamed Morsi has been unable so far to quell the trouble there despite declaring a month-long state of emergency, as protests in three cities—Ismailia, Port Said and Suez—went on today anyway.

In Algeria, militants attacked an oil pipeline and killed two workers today in the region of Djebahia, 45 miles east of the capital of Algiers. The area is controlled by Al Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb, or AQIM, which earlier this month seized a natural gas facility, resulting in the deaths of more than three dozen hostages. There is no report on whether oil transportation has been affected.

In Mali, French forces drove militants out of the city of Timbuktu but not before insurgents burned two warehouses filled with unique, centuries-old manuscripts. French, Malian and African forces are battling militants who captured the north of Mali and seemed to be threatening the stability of resource-rich West Africa.

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