12 more Die in Violence in Algeria

Published May 11th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Another 12 people including five members of the security forces and six Islamic extremists died in the latest violence in Algeria, according to press reports Thursday. 

The security forces killed six armed Islamic fundamentalists on Wednesday in clashes at Tiaret, 340 kilometres (210 miles) west of Algiers, and Tebessa, in the far east of the country near the Tunisian border, Es Sahafa reported. 

Four communal guards were killed and two injured in an ambush Tuesday on their patrol at Legata, near Boumerdes, 50 kilometres east of Algiers, Es Sahafa reported. 

The patrol was hit by two homemade rocket-propelled shells, the paper said. 

A bomb killed a soldier at Saida, 430 kilometers west of Algiers on Wednesday, the daily Oran newspaper reported. 

And a group of 10 men hacked to death a farm worker with axes in an attack Wednesday at Sekkouma, near Khemis Miliana, 120 kilometres west of Algiers, La Tribune reported. 

Nearly 900 people have been killed, 200 of them Islamic extremists, since a six-month amnesty called by the government for the fighters expired on January 13. 

Interior Minister Yazid Zerhouni said Wednesday that about 6,000 militants had given themselves up under the terms of an amnesty. 

They included 1,500 members of the Armed Islamic Group (GIA), while the remainder were mainly from the Islamic Salvation Army (AIS), which has observed a truce since 1997. 

"We will carry on fighting these cliques of diehards," the minister told a press conference. "They still have a capacity for doing harm, but they no longer have the support of the people." 

Zerhouni also made it clear that he would refuse to sign the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) back into existence. 

The moderate Wafa Islamist party of former minister Ahmed Taleb-Ibrahimi has proposed reconstituting the party. 

It was the cancellation of January 1992 general elections, which FIS was set to win, that sparked the bloody insurgency that has continued to this day. 

Wafa said in a statement Thursday it was unconcerned by the interior ministry's refusal to recognize it. 

Wafa was an "independent political party, of legal origins," which had met all conditions and respected all the legal procedures, said the statement -- ALGIERS (AFP) 


© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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