PRIME Minister David Cameron has vowed to focus the UK’s counter-terrorism assets to “find and dismantle” the organisation responsible for the massacre of hostages in Algeria
He said more needed to be done to tackle the presence of al-Qaeda and other Islamic extremist groups in North Africa. He promised that the threat posed by al-Qaeda-linked terrorists in the region would be at the top of the agenda for the UK presidency of the G8 group of nations.
He told MPs: “We will work closely with the Algerian government to learn the lessons of this attack and to deepen our security co-operation. We will contribute British intelligence and counter-terrorism assets to an international effort to find and dismantle the network that planned and ordered the brutal assault at In Amenas.”
Setting out the scale of the challenge facing the UK and other western countries from terror networks operating in ungoverned areas, Mr Cameron said: “This is the work our generation faces and we must demonstrate the same resolve and sense of purpose as previous generations have with the challenges that they faced in this House and in this country.”
The Prime Minister said talks were taking place about offering extra support to the French military intervention in Mali, but stressed that British forces would not be involved in combat roles. He told MPs: “Our help for the French will be discussed again at the National Security Council tomorrow.
“We have lent them two C-17 [transport aircraft], we propose to continue with that and will be looking at other transport and surveillance assets that we can let the French use to help them in what they are doing.”
Labour leader Ed Miliband backed the government’s response to the assault on the In Amenas plant, which he described as an “unimaginable nightmare” for those involved and their families.
Former Conservative foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind said Britain needed to work with the natural leaders of north and west Africa and isolate “jihadi terrorists” from others with local grievances.