On Jan. 16, 2013, Islamic militants took dozens of foreign hostages at the BP-controlled In Amenas gas field in eastern Algeria, near the Libyan border. Algerian officials said the militants were members of an offshoot of al-Qaeda called Al Mulathameen and were acting in retaliation for France"s intervention in nearby Mali to beat back militants who had crossed into government-controlled areas. On Jan. 17, Algerian troops stormed the complex and attacked the kidnappers. By the end of the standoff on Jan. 20, 29 militants and 37 hostages were killed. Three Americans were among the dead. The Algerian government was criticized for its heavy-handed approach to the crisis but remained unapologetic.
On Sept. 3, 2012, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika named Abdelmalek Sellal as prime minister. The government"s main cabinet positions remained unchanged.
On March 13, 2014, Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal resigned in order to run the reelection campaign of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Energy Minister Youcef Yousfi was appointed prime minister. Bouteflika was reelected to a fourth term in April 2014, taking 81% of the vote. The opposition, led by Ali Benflis, who challenged Bouteflika and received 12% of the vote, claimed there were "serious irregularities" in the election.
See also Encyclopedia: Algeria .
U.S. State Dept. Country Notes: Algeria
Office National de Statistiques (Some English Content) www.ons.dz/English/indexag.htm