Algerian forces guarding the border given shoot-on-sight orders, says official

A high-ranking Algerian security official says troops guarding the country's border with Mali have been given shoot-on-sight orders against anyone who attempts to illegally cross the frontier.

The official, who is responsible for security in the North African nation's vast Sahara region, says the fear is that victories by French forces in northern Mali will send rebels there across the border into Algeria. Some of those rebels are linked to al-Qaida.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject, said local people have been warned about these orders and urged not to cross the border without authorization.

Algeria closed its 1,000-kilometer (600-mile) mountainous desert border with Mali on Jan. 13 after French intervened against Malian rebels who had captured much of northern Mali.