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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 March, 2005, 17:01 GMT 18:01 UK
Light shed on Algeria disappeared
Algerian mourning at a graveyard
The conflict with Islamists has taken a huge toll
The security forces were responsible for the disappearance of more than 6,000 people during the 1990s war in Algeria, an official has acknowledged.

But those responsible were not following orders, says a report from a government-appointed commission.

The BBC's Heba Saleh says the report's credibility will be undermined by the clearing of military chiefs who had political power at the time.

For years, families have demanded light be shed on their relatives' fate.

The report also says it does not know if the disappeared were dead or alive.

The families have already rejected an offer of compensation included in the report, which was presented to President Abdelzaziz Bouteflika by commission head Farouk Sentini.

Islamic rebels in Algeria took up arms in 1992 after the military annulled their electoral victory.

Some 150,000 people are believed to have been killed in the ensuing political violence, which lasted for more than a decade.

The report also calls for security agents implicated in the disappearances to be covered by a general amnesty expected in the coming month.

Islamic militants who surrendered have already benefited from a partial amnesty.

This has helped restore peace, our reporter says, even if it has angered those whose relatives were killed by the militants.

There are many in Algeria today on all sides who believe that justice has not been done, correspondents say.

But the BBC's reporter says that President Abdulaziz Bouteflika is keen to turn the page and he clearly believes that any deep probing now could only destabilise the country.

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Country profile: Algeria
24 May 03 |  Country profiles

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