Latest Moslem Extremist Gangs Kill One and Wound Another
Islamic extremist gangs killed a farmer and wounded a police officer in the latest raids and attacks by small groups reported in Saturday's Algerian press.
The farmer, 27, had his throat cut at home when a band of six men burst into several houses at Ain Larbi village 530 kilometers (330 miles) east of the capital on Wednesday night.
The following night, a dozen men armed with assault rifles looted several shops at El-Abidja, 120 kilometers (75 miles) east of Algiers, but nobody was injured according to the reports.
Civil defense members known as "patriots" killed a gang member on Thursday near Sidi Bel Abbes, 440 kilometers (some 270 miles) west of here.
The same day, a gang attacked a roadblock set up by security forces at Boumerdes, 50 kilometers (30 miles) east of here, injuring a policeman.
The reports of the latest low-level violence after a civil war which wracked the country from 1992 coincides with a visit to Algiers by South African President Thabo Mbeki and a high-level government and business team.
The South Africans arrived on Friday for a three-day trip aimed at boosting economic ties between the two countries, which have long enjoyed excellent relations but currently cooperate primarily in the military sector.
Savage attacks on civilians have persisted since the start of the year when a six-month amnesty President Abdelaziz Bouteflika extended to fundamentalists willing to lay down their arms expired. Hundreds of those at war with the secular state did so, but hardline groups refused.
A Muslim fundamentalist insurrection began after the January 1992 cancellation of general elections the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) was bound to win. It escalated into a civil war that claimed at least 100,000 lives.
In the past 18 months, more normal life resumed in many affected parts of the country, but security measures are still strongly implemented and remote highland districts in particular remain very dangerous -- ALGIERS(AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)