November 16, 2009 / 6:02 PM / 10 years ago

Offices of Orascom Telecom unit in Algeria attacked

ALGIERS (Reuters) - A crowd of Algerian football supporters attacked the headquarters of the Algerian subsidiary of Egypt’s Orascom Telecom, smashing windows and destroying office equipment, the company said on Monday.

Egypt's Ahmed Fathy (R) challenges Algeria's Karim Ziani during their World Cup 2010 qualifying match, November 14, 2009. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

The offices, in a suburb of Algiers, were attacked on Sunday night, a day after a soccer World Cup qualification match between Egypt and Algeria which sparked reports that Algerian supporters had been assaulted by rival fans.

Metal fencing surrounding the office complex was ripped down while inside the complex, computer monitors, office chairs and water coolers were lying on the ground, a Reuters reporter who visited the scene on Monday said.

Windows in a guardhouse were smashed in the attack. At least a dozen vehicles in the office car park had broken windows. Riot police with water cannon were parked outside the complex.

“During these acts of vandalism telephone and computer equipment was subject to ransacking, theft and looting,” the subsidiary, which operates under the name Djezzy, said in a statement seen by Reuters.

Algerian media reported on Monday that several visiting supporters had died from their injuries after Egyptian fans attacked them following the match in Cairo, which Egypt won 2-0.

Abdelkader Hadjar, Algerian ambassador to Egypt, was quoted as saying by Algeria’s official news agency APS that he had found no evidence of fatalities, but that 50 travelling supporters were injured while in Cairo.

Egyptian newspapers have published pictures of what they said were Algerian supporters rioting in Cairo’s airport before leaving the country.

Orascom Telecom says that its subsidiary serves over 14.5 million mobile telephone customers in Algeria, giving it a 63.7 percent market share. It acquired a 15-year mobile telephone license in Algeria in 2001 for $737 million, according to its Internet site

An Orascom Telecom source in Cairo said of the attack on the company offices: “We don’t feel that in the long run this will adversely affect the operations of the company, because obviously it is just a stirring up and something temporary.”

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