An Algerian standoff ~ The story of Mukthar Bilmukthar, “The Masked Brigade” and “Those signing with Blood”


On the 16th of January, early in the morning, a group of Islamists attacked the Tigantourine gas facility, some 40 kilometers south-west to the town of ‘In Amenas, close to the Lybian border.

On January 19, the Algerian special forces raided the site, and most of the hostages were liberated. At least 38 hostages were killed, along with 29 militants, while 685 Algerian workers and 107 foreigners were freed, according to the Algerian government.

There are, as usual, two versions of what happened. The official view by the Algerian government is well known because of the international attention given to it. And there is the version of the kidnappers, two al-Qaeda brigades under the leadership of Mukthar Bilmukthar.

Those interested in the story in detail, focusing mainly on the Western point of view, I kindly refer to WikiPedia, please check out this story ~

This post however aims to bring the other view on the facts.

  • At first we see the leader of al-Muwaqqi‘ūn bi-d-Dimā’ (Arabic: الموقعون بالدما “Those signing with Blood”), Mukthar Bilmukthar (aka Khalid Abu al-Abbas) in a video message that was recorded during the crisis but released afterwards.
  • The second post was a written statement by another group under Bilmukthar’s leadership Katiba al-Mulathameen (Arabic: كتيبة الملثمين “The Masked Brigade”), released after the successful raid of the Algerian army.


In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful. We thank Allah, there is no aggression, but on the unjust, peace and blessing upon his gracious Prophet:

We, [from] the al-Qaeda Organization, declare that we take responsibility for this redemptive and blessed Jihadi operation, which was led by 40 Mujahideen (foreigners and locals) from Muslim and even western countries. [We operate] under the name of “Those signing with blood” and we promised Allah support and regaining the dignity [of Islam] or to gain martyrdom and paradise.

This Brigade we formed [is here] to defend our land and honor from the conspiracy of the French Crusaders and the head of the Regime in Algeria. [They] insulted the dignity and sacrifices of this brave nation and the blood of 1.5 million of martyrs. [They did this] by allowing the invader to use our land and our airspace to kill our people and our brothers in Mali.

We are ready to negotiate with the western countries and the Algerian regime under the condition of stopping the aggression and the bombardment on the Malian Muslim people and especially in Azawad region. And [if they] respect the will of its people to apply the Muslim Law (Shari’a) in their land.

As for the Americans, we tell them that we are ready to trade all their hostages in exchange of the release of our patient Sheikh Omar Abd ar-Rahman and to return him to his family in Egypt. If we [would hold] one thousand of you[r people], we would exchange them for him in loyalty to his knowledge, Hijrah and Jihad, our patient sister Aafiyya Siddiki, may Allah relief her from the agony.

And Allah is the master of His affair, but most people do not know. And to Allah belongs the might and to His Messenger and to the believers, but the hypocrites do not know.

Khalid Abu al-Abbas

Amir of al-Mulathamin Brigade

The statement by al-Mulathamin Brigade

Beside this video, an official statement got published.

Statement from “al-Mulathamin Brigade” regarding the ‘In Amenas hostage operation

A Fida’iyyin group from “Those signing with Blood” [part of] the al-Qaeda Organization conducted a double attack. [The] goal was to control the natural gas plant and the al-Hayat compound belonging to the British BP company, and to take hostages amongst [the] Western workers in the compound. The compound was seized, as planned, by a courageous move. Afterwards the Fida’iyyin took several Westerners captive [but] released the Muslims. (…) the army however claimed it liberated them.

They also contacted the management of the company and offered to negotiate with them. [They] demanded the army to move away from the detention location [and] to maintain the safety of the Muslims and the hostages. But the response of the army was by sniping two of the held hostages. [This] after the Algerian helicopters began to shell the al-Hayat base where the hostages were held, in an attempt to kill the hostages and end the crisis as soon as possible.

Then the Fida’iyyin (martyrdom seekers) took the decision to move [the hostages] to the factory to avoid that who remained would be killed or the Muslims there getting injured. [Trying to] preserve the hostages from the shelling, in contrary to what have been claimed by the Algerian regime that they were being moved to a neighboring country.

So the helicopters shelled the convoy that was moving the hostages to the factory, and destroyed it (…) those present were killed in a brutal way. That is an indication that the army isn’t concerned in preserving the lives of the captives as it claims.

The Fida’iyyin group remained present in the factory, offering to negotiate once again and mentioned legitimate demands:

  • stop the aggression on the Muslims in Mali
  • release our captives held by the crusaders

But the Algerian army didn’t respond to these legitimate demands, but rather it stormed the gas factory which led to the death of the hostages.

Hence we confirm the following:

Firstly: The states participating in the crusade against the Muslims and Islam didn’t have a goal except striking the young Islamic project in Mali, and in every country that implemented the Shari’a, but they didn’t interfere to protect the unarmed Syrian people who are being killed and displaced for two years, and that is a proof for their new colonial greed.

Secondly: We offered negotiations with the Westerners and Algerians and gave them safety from the beginning of the operation, but one of the senior intelligence officials confirmed to us in a telephone call that they will destroy the place with those who are in it. And according to our information that general is the one who supervised the operation.

Thirdly: We confirm the false claims of the Algerian security and interior ministry of controlling the borders. The operation is a proof of the fragility of the security system and it’s lies. There is no better proof. The Tigantourine compound had a military barricade including more than 250 soldiers. [They were stationed there] to protect the foreigners and petroleum companies stationed between the two targeted locations. [These troops were] stunned by the courage of the Fida’iyyin and their swiftness in executing the operation.

Fourthly: The fallacy of the Algerian regime to the Western countries, and deluding them that the executing group is local and can be controlled easily and even they were aware of the reality since the first hours, and despite that there was only five Algerians, and none of them were from the sons of this area.

Fifthly: The operation was being prepared for some time after an intelligence survey for many locations in different regions, and this location was chosen after it became clear the participation of Algeria with France against our people in Mali, and violating its skies and land by the French, and closure of the borders to besiege the Muslim Azawadi people, that was what pushed to give

the signal to begin the operation in Algeria.

Sixthly: We urge our Muslim brothers to stay away from all the Western companies and compounds, especially the French ones, to maintain their safety. [Our] Fida’iyyin brothers emphasized that, when seizing the location to our Muslim brothers working there.

Finally: We threaten all the states that participated in the crusade against the Azawad region if they do not withdraw their decision for more operations

Sources: YouTube,
Translations and sources via: @Alasil & @azelin

One comment on “An Algerian standoff ~ The story of Mukthar Bilmukthar, “The Masked Brigade” and “Those signing with Blood”

  1. […] Een volgende wapenfeit was de bestorming van een gasveld in Algerije door al-Qaeda leider Mokhtar BelMokhtar. Op 19 januari 2013 bevrijdde het Algerijnse leger de installatie. Er vielen onder de Westerse en Algerijnse gijzelaars minstens 38 doden. Voor het volledige verhaal, gezien vanuit het standpunt van de gijzelnemers, verwijs ik wederom graag door naar volgende blogpost. […]

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