Update: French Climber’s Execution
On Sept 22, French climber Herve Gourdel was kidnapped by a militant Islamic group and two days later he was executed.
This is not the first time that climbers have been victims of a terrorist attack. On June 22, 2013, over a dozen militants attacked a basecamp on the 8,126-metre Nanga Parbat which resulted in 11 deaths, three from Ukraine, two from China, two from Slovakia, one from Lithuania, one from Nepal and one local Pakistan guide.
After the attack, the United Nations (UN) secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, said he condemned the attack and that “the UN will grant the Pakistani government full support in the face of terrorism and extremism.”
As of Aug. 19, 2013, all 20 of the men behind the Nanga Parbat attack had been arrested.
As BBC reports: In response to the more recent beheading of climber Gourdel, France’s defence council announced it will hold a crisis meeting. “Our values are at stake,” French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Wednesday after hearing about Gourdel’s death.
For more on Herve Gourdel’s execution
President Barack Obama said, ““Today the people of the world have been horrified by another brutal murder, of Herve Gourdel, by terrorists in Algeria,” who has been urging UN member states to more aggressively counter extremist groups.
[shareprints gallery_id=”9346″ gallery_type=”slider” gallery_position=”pos_center” gallery_width=”width_100″ image_size=”small” image_padding=”0″ theme=”dark” image_hover=”false” lightbox_type=”slide” titles=”true” captions=”true” descriptions=”true” comments=”true” sharing=”true”]Gourdel was a 55-year-old mountain guide from Nice. He worked for the Escapade les Guide Du Mercantour. He was kidnapped in the Djura Djura mountains of northern Algeria on Sunday during a trip to the mountains.
On his Facebook page he had expressed how excited he was about the trip and said he was looking forward to being shown around for a change, instead of being the guide.
Gourdel’s companions on the trip, locals from Algeria, were released.
The remote mountains have steep valleys and deep caves which are popular with climbers and hikers. It is also one of the last strongholds of Islamist extremists in northern Algeria.
After the kidnapping, Algerian forces unleashed a massive search, they sent in helicopters and special forces to comb the region.
Gourdel’s family will be having a vigil on Thursday, in their hometown in southern France, at the mountain guide office where he worked.
The CBC reported that Algeria has been at war with Islamic extremists since the 1990s. They had been mostly confined to a few areas in the mountains, where they have concentrated attacks on soldiers and police while leaving residents alone.
Our condolences go out to Gourdel’s family, friends and climbing community.
–Gripped editor Brandon Pullan will be updating the story as more details become available.