It would be important to stress that the first French nuclear tests were conducted in Algeria between 1960 and 1965, while the first test took place on February 13, 1960 exactly 52 years ago, at Regane in south west Algeria at that time Algeria was still a colony in the throes of a war for independence, moreover fourteen nuclear weapons tests were conducted at the two Algerian locations, four atmospheric and 10 underground.
The French government has not made public any documents about nuclear tests in Algeria. In the absence of official documentation about armed forces participation, participation of Algerians and dose and contamination levels, there has been considerable speculation and rumour about all of these subjects. The one figure that we have seen on radiation doses was reported by Greenpeace: “The first underground test, on 1 May 1962, code-named Beryl, was to test the prototype for the AN 11 bomb for the Mirage IVA aircraft. Despite adverse winds and against the advice of the Commission of Nuclear Safety the explosion went ahead because two VIPs, one from the Ministére des Armees, were present. Twelve soldiers were contaminated when radioactive vapour escaped through a fissure in the rock; nine of them received more than 100 rem of radiation”.
According to the world media agency (Reuters) – Radioactive material is still seeping out from this Sahara desert mountain where French scientists conducted nuclear tests in the 1960s, contaminating the soil and poisoning relations between France and Algeria.
Racing to build a bomb that would underpin its status as a major Cold War power, France “chose this barren spot”!!!! in what was then a French colony to carry out nuclear explosions before a newly independent Algeria called a halt to the tests.
Nearly half a century later, local people, say the tests left a legacy of environmental devastation and health problems, and are demanding that Paris issue an apology and pay compensation which is being totally ignored by France up to now!!!
The issue has become a symbol of the tension between Algeria and France. Algeria is angry that Paris has not offered a broader apology for what it sees as France’s colonial crimes, and relations hit a new low this week when Algeria accused France of failing to back its fight against the so called “Al Qaeda militants”.
Hussein Dakhal, who lives in a village near In Ekker mountain, is now 83. He remembers when, on May 1, 1962, the French conducted a test codenamed “Beryl”. It went wrong, letting radioactive material escape from inside the mountain.
“I heard the explosion. Since then, life has changed for us … unknown diseases and health problems started to emerge,” Dakhal said as he stood near the foot of the mountain, about 2,000 km (1,250 miles) south of the Algerian capital.
After a war that killed One Million & Half Martyrs, Algeria won independence in 1962. But under the treaty signed by French President Charles de Gaulle ending rule from Paris, the tests were allowed to go on until 1966.
According to Algerian data, radiation in some areas near the test sites is 20 times higher than the norm. “Do not stay more than 10 minutes. It could be dangerous,” one scientist at In Ekker told the visitors.
Algerian officials say France is refusing to give them access to archives about the tests, leaving them in the dark about the extent of the threat from radiation and preventing them from taking effective measures to contain it.
“The region has been irradiated. We need information about where irradiated stuff has been buried, this is why it is vital to obtain archives from France,” said Roland Desbordes, head of an independent French nuclear watchdog.
“I do not understand why France is against the principle of delivering the archives to Algeria,” he told Reuters.
Not all those who say they were victims of the testing are Algerians, a French newspaper, citing confidential documents, reported this month that France deliberately exposed its soldiers to the blasts to study the effects on humans.
Paradoxically as it may seem , the chosen site (Adrar or Touat Region in South West Algeria) by France to proceed to these nuclear test is not something trivial but rather a deliberate act as both Western and Zionist historians did not match the acts of Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdel Krim Al Maghili a devout and an incomparable XV Century Warrior, backing up our stance on what has deeply surprised me and raised so high my eyebrows was that recent article I came across and which was published by the Algerian Arabic Daily “Echourouk Al youmi” dated 12.02.2007, the article written by Dr. Abdul Kadhim Al Aboudi, Professor of Nuclear physics at Oran University is more than breath-taking as it recalls the French nuclear tests in the Touat area on the 13th of February 1960 (while Algeria was under French colonisation), and precisely in Reggane a 50 km distance south of Bouali , Dr.Al Aboudi with irrefutable evidence, considered that the “blue jerboa nuclear operation” was hatched by the Israelis and executed by the French so as to revenge the “Jews-cleanup” by Sidi Al Maghili five centuries ago , then he wondered why the chosen site was the “Land of Touat” for such nuclear tests as it is not an isolated act rather it is an established pattern as its harmful consequences upon people of the region and the environment as a whole are duly felt up to now!!!
No wonder, that despite the wicked acts by France towards these “crimes against Humanity” , the Noble citizens of the Touat area are relying on a sublime act in the form of thwarting the harmful effects of radioactivity by Prayers and Salutations upon the Beloved Prophet of Islam Mohamed & his Household (PBUH) such a daily panacea and therapy had indeed bore its fruits.