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The BBC's Frank Gardner
"The country is still deeply immersed in violence"
 real 28k

Sunday, 24 September, 2000, 11:47 GMT 12:47 UK
Algeria violence returns after lull
Relatives of Algeria massacre victims in 1997
Algeria has been rocked by massacres since 1992
Reports from Algeria say 13 people have been killed in attacks near the capital, Algiers, by suspected Islamic rebels.

The attacks bring the number of people killed since the beginning of September to more than 70 - including about 20 insurgents - according to figures issued by the press.

The spate of murders this month has raised fears that armed violence is again on the increase after a lull.

Troops search Islamist suspects in Algiers suburb
Violence has continued around Algiers despite tight security
In the village of Bougarra south of the city, three gunmen were reported to have sprayed a house with automatic weapons, killing seven people and wounding two.

Men who mounted a fake roadblock on a main road in the same area cut the throats of five people who stopped in two cars.

The group cut the throats of three men in one vehicle and injured a two-year-old girl before setting the car on fire and kidnapping a young woman, it was reported.

No respite

Attacks on Algerian civilians have continued since a six-month amnesty ended early in 2000 for Islamist rebels to lay down their arms.

Although most of the Islamist rebels surrendered earlier, many are reportedly taking up arms again.

SA President Thabo Mbeki and Algerian President Bouteflika
Mbeki visit hopes to improve economic conditions
More than 100,000 people, mostly civilians, have died in the civil strife which broke out in 1992 after elections which Islamists were poised to win were suspended.

The attacks come during the visit of South African President Thabo Mbeki at the head of a high-level government and business delegation.

South Africa and Algeria already share strong military ties and have now signed an economic agreement to co-operate on privatisation plans to replace Algeria's crumbling industrial sector.

Earlier in September, Mr Mbeki's security minister warned that South Africa could face a similar insurgency as Algeria if the authorities did not take tough action against an upsurge of suspected Islamist urban terror.

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See also:

20 Jul 00 | Country profiles
Country profile: Algeria
13 Jan 00 | Middle East
Analysis: An unstable peace
12 Jul 00 | Middle East
Algerian anti-rebel drive failing
17 Jun 00 | Middle East
France disappoints Bouteflika
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