In Amenas bosses were 'warned of bloodshed'

17 September 2014

Inquest hears allegations that local worker made threats before terror attack

A local worker at the Algerian In Amenas gas plant allegedly threatened the facilities bosses the night before the site was overrun by more than 30 Al-Qaeda-linked fighters.

During the ongoing inquest into the attack at the Royal Courts of Justice, In Amenas deputy general manager Mark Cobb was asked about claims a translator heard one of the Algerian drivers say, “You have made your law, but tomorrow when you wake up you will have a surprise and there will be bloodshed.”

The alleged statement was made on the night of 15 January at meeting between the site managers and drivers, discussing recent industrial action.

Cobb told the inquest that the comment was not translated for him.

“If I had been made aware of that I would have been extremely worried,” he said.

On 16 January, the gas plant was attacked by fighters armed with assault rifles and explosives. The fighters took more than 800 people hostage and more than 60 people were killed in the ensuing stand off.

The UK inquest is looking into the deaths of six British citizens and a UK-based Colombian, who were killed in the attack.

Ahead of the inquest it was stated that one of the hearing’s objectives was to “consider the security of the site and whether or not there was any information known or held relating to the impending attack”.

The plant is jointly run by British energy company BP, Norway’s Statoil and the Algerian state-controlled operator Sonatrach.

In early September, Statoil announced that normal operations were being resumed at the facility, 19 months after the attack.

Since the hostage crisis in January 2013, Statoil had kept its permanent workers away from the gas field.

The return to normal operations came after the implementation of new security measures, including a new airport, observation helicopters and a permanent military presence on the site.

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