Nine civilian guards and five soldiers have been killed in two separate ambushes by armed Islamic fundamentalists in Algeria, newspaper reports said Wednesday.
The attacks occurred on Tuesday in the Jijel area in the east of the country and in Mascara in the west, the reports said.
The mayor of Bordj That community and three civilian guards were wounded in one of the attacks, they said. Some 10 soldiers were injured at Stamboul in Mascara region.
The reports could not be confirmed independently.
Violence has increased in Algeria this month since the beginning of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
At least five soldiers were killed and 10 others injured in northern Algeria on Monday, when Islamic fundamentalists ambushed the vehicle they were travelling in, press reports said.
The soldiers were going to the aid of other soldiers whose military post in the nearby bush had come under attack from an armed group.
As their vehicle went over four homemade bombs, the soldiers came under fire from their attackers. Five soldiers were killed and another 10 injured.
One of the assailants was also killed.
After the attack, helicopter gunships pounded the area, a stronghold of the hardline Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), which has rejected President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's moves towards national reconciliation.
Insurgency by fundamentalist groups has claimed at least 100,000 lives since they took up arms in 1992 after the army called off the second round of elections the Islamic Salvation Front was poised to win.
Bouteflika in July 1999 offered a six-month amnesty on specific conditions to armed groups, which led hundreds of fighters to turn themselves in.
He has ordered the security forces to crack down mercilessly on those who failed to take up the offer -- ALGIERS (AFP)
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