Nine Norwegians and about 30 hostages from nine other nations are held captive by the militants from Mali on the partly-owned Statoil gas plant in In Amenas in Algeria. Basically, the situation is handled by local authorities but the involvement of the foreign citizens may lead to more countries involved.
TV 2 has confirmed from Norwegian sources that the special forces is in the process of preparation for any action in Algeria.
– Norwegian Joint Headquarters (FOH) is monitoring the situation closely, but stresses that it is the Foreign Ministry’s decision to start the operation, says John Espen Lien, head of information at FOH to TV 2.
In last June the special forces had an exercise at an oil plaform that was “hijacked” outside Sandnessjøen in Nordland. In recent years, the military and police Delta Group have annual exercises and gained experience.
But Lien warned that there are many precautions that must be taken into account as this is a gas plan where damage can be considerable.
An action will nevertheless unlikely to happen without the Algerian authorities’ consent or call for help from foreign military forces.