It is coming up to sunset in Beni Isguen, one of five oasis villages inhabited by the Mozabite ethnic people in this valley in central Algeria, which it was once the busiest time of the day…Some days, hundreds of tourists would arrive in buses to see the dramatic scenery and weird, mud architecture. But this changed earlier this year in the aftermath of the French intervention in Mali, with which Algeria shares a long border.
The situation was exacerbated by February’s attack by an Al Qaeda offshoot on the In Amenas gas installation in Algeria’s east, in which at least 37 foreign hostages were killed, including 10 Japanese.
“Business is about half what it was before,” said Farida Babaamer-Hadj Aissa, owner of the Tiny Tours travel agency in Ghardaia. “It’s because, I think, people are listening to the French journalists.”