RCMP officers in Algeria after deadly hostage-taking
Foreign affairs says Canada has no information on suspects from Algerian officials
RCMP officers are in Algeria in the wake of a deadly hostage situation in the north African country, CBC News has confirmed.
The deployment comes one day after Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the government was seeking more information to substantiate claims by Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal that two Canadian nationals were among the group of al-Qaeda-linked militants who took hundreds prisoner at a natural gas processing complex in the Sahara.
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird condemned the attacks on Saturday. Today, his department continues to say it has nothing new to report on the identities of the suspects.
"We have received no information on these individuals from the Algerian government," an official wrote. "We support the government of Algeria in its ongoing struggle with terrorism."
The comments mirror remarks from Prime Minister Stephen Harper yesterday:
"We have no substantial information at the present time on these particular individuals, but obviously we will continue to work with the government of Algeria to find out more about this particular matter," Harper said at a press conference in Cambridge, Ont.
Canadian extremists 'incomprehensible'
Speaking on a conference call with reporters on another subject this morning, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney reiterated that his government has not received "any hard evidence that confirms whether Canadians were involved" and was still seeking clarification of the Algerian claim.
"We've had situations where Canadians have gone abroad to be involved in violent extremism, and I find that just completely incomprehensible, that anyone who came to Canada, benefited from our democracy and our prosperity, or was born and raised here, would turn their backs on this country to go and be involved in jihadi extremism," Kenney said.
Kenney said past examples of Canadians who left to fight with Al-Shabaab in Somalia are "one of the reasons why our government is strengthening our immigration security screening to make sure the people who come to this country will be loyal to it and to our democratic values."
"It's a question of ensuring that people with terrorist affiliations don't get here in the first place," Kenney said, still emphasizing that there's no confirmation yet that Canadian citizens or permanent residents did in fact plan or participate in the violent hostage-taking.
Algerian authorities say 37 hostages and 29 militants were killed when Algerian forces stormed the complex on Saturday.