Kidnappings reap millions in Algeria

May 20, 2008 at 12:04 PM

ALGIERS, Algeria, May 20 (UPI) -- Algerian government officials say coordination between al-Qaida and organized crime rings on abductions were worth nearly $19 million in ransoms in 2007.

Algerian Interior Minister Noureddine Yazid Zerhouni said there were 375 abductions in Algeria in 2007. Of those, 115 were linked to terrorism and 260 were linked to organized crime, Med Basin Newsline said.

"Families of the victims paid ($18.7 million)" in ransoms, Zerhouni said.

Analysts predict a rise in the number of kidnappings in Algeria as the country generated new wealth from energy exports, though Zerhouni alleged kidnappers were targeting children for organ-harvesting rings, Med Basin Newsline said.

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