Algerian Government Promises to Fight Terror as Nine more Die
Algerian Interior Minister Yazid Zerhouni said Monday that the state was "determined to combat terrorist groups" after nine people died over the weekend in attacks blamed on Islamic fundamentalists.
Zerhouni said "the situation at the moment shows the terrorists have their backs to the wall and are on the defensive. The criminal actions are aimed at taking pressure off the terrorist groups and forcing our security forces towards urban centers."
On Saturday, a gang dressed as soldiers on patrol shot and killed a three-year-old girl and her parents at point blank range in an isolated house in Bougara, 30 kilometers (20 miles) southeast of Algiers, several papers said on Monday.
The killers knocked on the door of the hillside house overlooking the Mitidja plane, then blew it open with an explosive device when the family refused to let them in, the daily Liberte said.
Another girl was hurt during the attack, while other members of the family escaped, the paper reported.
In the hamlet of Boumameh near the eastern port of Skikda, a gang also attacked a house on Saturday, killing a "patriot" -- a member of the civilian self-defense militia -- and his son. They cut the son's throat then shot his father.
Another "patriot" was killed the same evening at Lakhdaria, 70 kilometers (45 miles) east of Algiers.
Also on Saturday night, a garage mechanic was tortured and then had his throat cut in the small village of Bouhama, 530 kilometers (330 miles) southeast of the capital.
El Khabar daily said the young man was apparently killed for completing his military service. Islamic fundamentalists have ordered Algerian youths to avoid the call-up. Many conscripts are sent to combat units to fight the Muslim guerrillas.
Another youth who owned a gaming hall was killed at Oued Djemaa in the Ain Defla region, 160 kilometers (100 miles) east of the capital. He was kidnapped on Saturday night and his body was found on Sunday.
In a cafe at Beni Aziz, near Setif, 300 kilometers (185 miles) east of Algiers, a parcel bomb killed one person on Sunday, Le Jeune Independant reported.
The death toll from the holy fasting month of Ramadan, which this year began on the lunar calendar at the end of November, is at least 330, according to reports in the press.
Islamic groups opposed to the secular state consider Ramadan particularly auspicious for "jihad" or holy war.
More than 100,000 people have died since fundamentalists took up arms after the army intervened in January 1992 to call off the second round of general elections the now-outlawed Islamic Salvation Front was poised to win -- ALGIERS (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)