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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 October, 2004, 13:51 GMT 14:51 UK
African anti-terror centre opens
Algerian mourning at a graveyard
Algeria's conflict with Islamists has had a huge toll
The African Union has opened in Algeria a regional research centre aimed at combating terrorism on the continent.

AU commission chairman Alpha Oumar Konanre said the centre in the capital Algiers would beef up AU member states' collective efforts to fight terrorism.

Mr Konare also said the AU was working with international institutions to eradicate "a universal threat".

AU delegates are also holding talks in Algiers, which has itself been the focus of attacks by militant Islamists.

US military help

Attacks still continue, but there is a growing sense that the worst may be over and the authorities are gaining the upper hand against groups such as the GIA after more than a decade of Islamist violence, the BBC's David Bamford reports.

As in Egypt, domestic Islamist militancy has withered even as the political strategy by the Islamists has taken on a more global approach, with the al-Qaeda phenomenon, our correspondent says.

But other Algerian-based militants, the Salafists, are continuing to attack targets not only in southern Algeria, but right across the African Sahel.

The US military - which sees a strategic interest in ensuring a more stable northern Africa - is providing training support for local national armies seeking to quell cross-border banditry.

Similarly in East Africa - in the wake of the attacks on US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and the Mombasa attacks on Israelis in 2002 - the US has troops based in Djibouti and keeping a close watch on failed states like Somalia where globally active militants might be able to hide out, our correspondent says.

Algeria ambush mars terror talks
18 Sep 03  |  Africa
Algeria frees Islamist leaders
02 Jul 03  |  Africa
Algeria mulls Islamists' release
03 Jul 03  |  Africa
Algeria's 'export of terror'
26 Feb 03  |  Africa
Country profile: Algeria
24 May 03  |  Country profiles

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