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Why was Edwin Dyer killed?

June 4, 2009

Edwin Dyer was among a group of Western tourists kidnapped on the Niger-Mali border after attending a festival of Tuareg culture in late January.

Four months later the Briton was killed by al Qaeda’s North African wing, which had been demanding the release of Abu Qatada, a Jordanian Islamist being held in Britain.

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb said Dyer’s death was “a tiny portion of what innocent Muslims taste every day at the hands of the Crusader and Jewish coalition”.

Although Dyer was killed on May 31, news of his death was not released until June 3, a day before President Barack Obama gave a speech in Cairo intended to mend fences with the Muslim world.

Analysts suggested that AQIM may have intended Dyer’s death as a message to the American president.

Or was the reason more prosaic?

Last month, Algerian media said AQIM was demanding 10 million euros ($14 million) for Dyer and a Swiss national the group was also holding.

Britain said it would not deal with AQIM.

Salima Tlemcani, an expert in security issues who writes for Algeria’s El Watan newspaper, said Dyer had in fact been killed because no ransom had been paid. Other hostages, not from Britain, had been released because AQIM got the money it asked for, she said.


terrorism is here to staylike cancer and tornados dothis we all should understand and deal with


Salima Tlemcani, an expert in security issues who writes for Algeria’s El Watan newspaper, said Dyer had in fact been killed because no ransom had been paid. Other hostages, not from Britain, had been released because AQIM got the money it asked for, she said.This comment is just speculation there is no way Salima Tlemcani has any idea on why the unfortunate Mr, Dyer was beheaded. As for Salima Tlemcani being a ‘security expert’ this statement is questionable. How about the fate of Mr. Dyer was sealed as soon as he was kidnapped even if the UK government would of paid the ransom demands.

Posted by john | Report as abusive

We need to recognize, track down, confront and kill these evil animals, wherever they may be.If it were illegal to reward kidnapping, there would be no kidnapping. Reward behavior and you will get more of that behavior….

Posted by Tom | Report as abusive

Mr Dyer is a tragic hero, and his sacrifice should be recognized by all Britons.Paying terrorists ransoms only makes them better armed and more likely to kidnap again.Mr Dyer’s death made terrorists less likely to kidnap Britons in the future.Meanwhile, Italy, a country that pays ransoms at the drop of a hat, leads the world in Al Qaeda related kidnappings.

Posted by David Ferrin | Report as abusive

Salima Tlemcani is her pen name.As a result of her reporting in the early 1990s Tlemcani’s name came up on a “death list” put out by Algerian GIA and the Armee Islamiste de Salut (AIS). Almost half: 10 of the 22 journalists on the list were assassinated.

Posted by TheChairman | Report as abusive

If they wanted 10 million euros ($14 million) for ransom, then why not put a 10 million euros ($14 million) bounty on the heads of the terrorist/kidnappers? Even their own brother or sister would turn them in for that.

Posted by ThomasA | Report as abusive

This callous act should be met with the resolve from the free world that terrorism will never win. It is a clear message that these extremists think violence and harming the innocent are a way of bargaining to see their goals to an end…freedom will prevail, it’s time Islam came out to stand for it’s true tenets which are peace and harmony among peoples of the world.

Posted by James | Report as abusive

They called him a soldier as he was clearly not there for the music. My money is on him being a foreign office agent trying to forment revolution or some such.As for the party going in to the middle of nowhere for an malian music party – hmmm. Edwin Dyer didnt seem to appear to be someone with such niche interesobviously whien people are captured you cant just tell the truth and say, yes he is a diplomat working on anti terror matters with EU people – no. you say he was a tourist. that is the distinction between soldier and citizen.

Posted by mike wood | Report as abusive

David Ferrin you argument doesnt stand up to scrutiny – the italians pay ransoms, and when was the last time one of tehm got killed and captured? if im not mistaken, the last italian hostage to be killed was accidentally machine gunned by US troops at a check point in iraq a few hours after being you will note the following – Italians paying ransoms, being released, whilst UK hostages are very often captured and killed.Perhaps the real reason UK people get kidnapped more is becuase we meddle in others affairs and are disliked more as a nation by those we meddle with.

Posted by mike wood | Report as abusive

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