Guardsman Killed in Latest Attacks in Algeria
An Algerian civil security guard was killed and two other security agents wounded in separate attacks blamed on armed Islamist groups, press reports said Monday in Algiers.
The civil guardsman was killed Saturday after a bomb exploded in Lakhdaria, 120 kilometers (75 miles) south of Algiers, as he was returning to a campsite with members of his unit, Algiers newspapers reported.
Another civil guardsman was seriously wounded the same day in a firefight with an armed group trying to attack a village near Tissemsilt, 240 kilometers southwest of Algiers.
The third casualty was a civilian security guard who lost his legs when he stepped on a landmine near Sidi Belabes, 440 kilometers south of Algiers.
The weekend attacks bring to at least 32 the number of people, mostly civilians, killed in attacks since Thursday, according to newspaper reports.
More than 250 Algerians have been killed and more than 60 injured in unrest since early July, including around 20 Islamic extremists, according to a press tally.
Algerian officials neither confirm nor deny the toll.
President Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced one year ago a six-month amnesty for armed Islamic fighters not implicated in "blood crimes", rape or planting bombs in public places.
But even before the new sharp rise in violence, the death toll in Algeria's eight-year-old civil war has averaged more than 200 per month since January, when the amnesty offer expired.
Bouteflika's initiative, launched just three months after he was elected in April 1999, had sent a wave of hope across the country, but now peace appears as elusive as ever in a crisis that has claimed more than 100,000 lives since 1992.
The spate of massacres has sparked fears that diehard Islamic extremists of the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) and the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), which have staunchly rejected the amnesty offer, have reorganized.
Algeria's civil war was sparked when the military stepped in to avert certain electoral victory by the FIS, which had intended to set up an Islamic state - ALGIERS (AFP)
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