International News

Children, infants butchered in Algeria
by CNN, Associated Press and Reuters, December 10, 1998
Posted: Wednesday, May 31, 2000 07:37 pm CST

ALGIERS, Algeria (CNN) - A grisly night attack in a western mountain region of Algeria killed 81 people in one of the bloodiest massacres in nearly a year, officials said Thursday.

Bloody bedclothes bear witness to the Algerian massacre Armed bands descended upon three villages near Tadjena, 170 kilometers (100 miles) southwest of the capital, Algiers, overnight Tuesday, torturing, slashing and mutilating their victims, hospital sources said.

It was the deadliest night of violence since militants killed 400 people in two Algiers suburbs in January. The latest attack brought to 200 the number of people murdered in little more than a week.

Witnesses said the militants arrived with hit lists of their victims, singling out families with relatives in civil defense forces.

Members of one family described the horrifying attack in graphic detail. They said attackers slashed the throats of children, cutting the arms and legs off one of them and throwing the body in a boiling pot.

A young victim is buried
More than 20 women were kidnapped. Many women have been taken by militants in past attacks to be used as sex slaves and later killed.

Violence traditionally escalates in the weeks before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which begins this year on December 20. Despite the government's claims that it has brought the 7-year-old Islamist insurgency under control, this season's attacks are repeating the same murderous intensity of previous years.

More than 75,000 people have died since Islamists rebelled in 1992, when the military-backed government canceled general elections the Islamic Salvation Front was predicted to win.

Workers halt digging of mass grave
In a separate development, authorities have called off the excavation of a mass grave in a well near the capital, after removing the remains of 67 people.

Authorities have finished excavation of a mass grave near Algiers "We have ended our work," said a civil defense official. "We reached the water at the bottom of the well and recovered only one skeleton today."

Another official said workers were certain there were no more bodies inside the pit, one of two wells discovered on a farm in Meftah, 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of Algiers, on November 25. Both are believed to contain victims killed by Islamist rebels in 1996 or 1997.

The daily El Watan newspaper quoted rescue workers as saying as many as 200 bodies may be buried inside the two graves.

It is uncertain if, or when, workers will begin excavating the second well.

110 People Found Dead in Mass Grave
by CNN, Associated Press and Reuters
Posted: December 13, 1998 10:18 PM

ALGIERS, Algeria (CNN) - After two weeks of excavation in a mass grave, Algerian authorities have discovered the remains of about 110 people believed to be victims of Muslim rebels, the local daily Liberte said on Sunday.

Authorities have finished excavation of a mass grave near Algiers Liberte quoted government police as saying the excavation in a well in an orange grove in the Meftah region, some 20 km (12 miles) southwest of central Algiers, had been concluded on Saturday.

The newspaper said the grove had been a base of the Armed Islamic Group (GIA), Algeria's radical guerrilla faction.

It said the victims had been killed and then dumped in the well. The government has so far made no comment on the discovery of the grave, extensively reported on by non-government newspapers over the past two weeks.

In the meantime, eight people were killed in two days of violence around Algeria, and the tortured body of a young soldier was found, according to news accounts on Saturday.

Daily violence has been a part of life in Algeria since the army canceled 1992 legislative elections that a now-banned Muslim fundamentalist party, the Islamic Salvation Front, was poised to win. The move triggered the insurgency. So far, an estimated 75,000 people have been killed in the violence.

Six people, including at least one policeman, were killed Wednesday at a fake roadblock set up in an isolated bend in the road at Maamar, a village near Tizi Ouzou, capital of the Kabyle region about 100 kilometers (60 miles) east of Algiers.

Some 20 armed men reportedly set up the road block -- a technique used frequently by armed groups since the start of the Islamic insurgency in 1992.

A school bus and two cars, all burned, were still at the site two days later, according to Liberte. There was no mention of whether children were among the victims.

On Thursday, the tortured body of a young soldier kidnapped a day earlier was found in Maamar. The victim's throat was slit and his genitals crushed, the papers said, quoting family members.

The body of another kidnap victim, a local chief of Kadiria, near Bouira, 120 kms (75 miles) east of the capital, was found on Friday, Liberte and other papers reported. The official was kidnapped at the end of November.

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