Second Canadian Involvement In Algerian Gas Plant Attack Confirmed; Security Expert Questions Militants' Motives

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By Tendar Tsering | March 24, 2013 8:12 PM EST

After the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) confirmed the remains of a second Canadian allegedly involved in the Algerian gas plant attack, in January, security policy expert and Professor at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ont., Anthony Seaboyer sought to know the ulterior motives of the militant group associated with attack and their training base.

A visibly disturbed Seaboyer told CTV News, Saturday: "It was bad enough to have one Canadian involved in this... now a second. It's really not good for our reputation around the world and not what we want to see."

Further, he questioned the militants' links and training background stating: "Who did they work for? Where did they train?"

Also, questioning the alleged Canadian involvement in the attack, Seaboyer wondered if anything could have been done to avert the attack.

After more than two months of the deadly attack in January, investigators confirmed the second Canadian's identity through forensic analysis of remains recovered from the site, which typically involves the collection of DNA and fingerprint samples.

Earlier, Canadian police said another Canadian suspect was among those killed in the gas plant siege but added it was not clear whether the identified Canadian was a victim or perpetrator.

However, shortly after the deadly attack, Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal announced that two Canadians were among the Islamist militants, but the Canadian government could not immediately confirm the claim.

Canadian police department is yet to release the names of the two Canadians as it has stated that investigations are ongoing.

Earlier, Algerian forces raided a gas plant Jan. 16 that was attacked by an Islamic militant group and witness to hostage-taking. Though the militant siege was successfully put to an end, scores of people lost their lives in the fight.

At least, 38 hostages and 29 rebels were reported to have been killed in the attack. Almost all of the hostages were reported to be of foreign origin hailing from eight different countries including the U.K. and Japan.

Though the gas plant attack was put to an end, the fight against the Islamist rebels linked to Al-Qaeda continues in the African region. 

The man who claimed responsibility for the attack, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, was reportedly killed in a military strike in northern Mali.

Apparently, the terrorists claimed the attack was an act of revenge following a military attempt to oust Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in neighboring Mali.  

In January, Canada extended a Royal Canadian Air Force C-17 and around 40 Air Force personnel at the request of French government for its mission in Mali.

Initially extending and then re-extending the military support by thirty days, twice, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently declared Canadian Air Force C-17 will remain stationed in Mali as long as its services are required. 

Further, the incident has upped the ante of the U.S. intelligence officials, who in January noted that signs of Canadian citizens' involvement in an attack masterminded by Islamist militants were of great concern to the American authorities.

The possibility of Canadian citizens' involvement in the attack on the facility in the Algerian desert raised concerns among security officials about a worrying nexus between North America and North African militants, Reuters reported. 

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