Algeria Claims Canadians Involved in Gas Plant Attack

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More information has begun to emerge from the Jan. 16 militant attack on an Algerian gas plant, including suggestions reported by Reuters that two Canadian citizens may have assisted in the assault.

The plant director has said that the facility will reopen in a month, as reported by AFP , at the site where three dozen foreign workers were killed during a hostage siege.

Here's the latest news regarding the aftermath of the attack.

* Confirmation has not been made yet that Canadians were among the attackers on the In Amenas facility, but Algerian officials have not provided Canadian officials with proof that their citizens were involved.

* A spokesman for Canada's foreign affairs minister, Rick Roth confirmed that Canadian officials were working with Algerians to try to get more solid information, but said that "because this is an ongoing operational matter, it would be inappropriate to comment further," according to Reuters.

* A credible witness indicated that a hostage-taker did speak English with either a North American or British accent, though European security sources doubt there were Britons among the attackers.

* Lotfi Benadouda, director of the site, said that the location would reopen in less than a month, but "only for Algerians" according to AFP. "Foreign partners will not return for another three months," while providing support in running the facility remotely.

* Reuters reported on Thursday that the plant was surrounded by troops in armored vehicles as Algerian officials permitted journalists to see the location. Local workers were seen cleaning up the site while wearing anti-contamination suits. Militants had attempted to blow up the facility by lighting it on fire.

* There are still burned out jeeps and bullet holes visible all around the location where 37 foreign hostages, one Algerian, and 29 militants died. Three of the hostage-takers were captured alive.

* Algeria's Sahara desert will undergo new travel restrictions according to the Associated Press , following the attacks and will be intended to deter adventure travelers from visiting the region.

* Sahara guide and author Chris Scott said of the southern region of Algeria that it is "the ninth biggest country in the world, is the best place to experience the full range of desert landscapes, authentic Tuareg culture, prehistoric rock art, adventure and so on," but 70 of 76 tourist companies in the main regional city of Tamanrasset have closed due to post-attack cancellations.

Shawn Humphrey is a former contributor to The Flint Journal and an amateur Africanist, focusing his personal studies on human rights and political issues on the continent.

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