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Thursday, 21 December, 2000, 17:29 GMT
Amnesty condemns Algeria killings
Amnesty wants accountability for all the killings
Human rights group Amnesty International has strongly condemned the recent spate of killings of civilians in Algeria.

Those responsible for horrific murders must be held to account

Amnesty International
Noting a significant rise in the level of violence, Amnesty urged the authorities to spare no effort to investigate attacks and bring those responsible to justice.

It said that in the past week alone, more than 100 civilians had been killed, along with dozens of members of the security forces, state-armed militias and armed groups.

"The killing has to stop," Amnesty said. "The Algerian authorities should spare no effort to investigate these crimes and to ensure that those responsible are brought to justice."

World looks away

In the latest violence to be reported from Algeria, La Tribune newspaper said that eight people were killed in an attack on Wednesday in a remote village in the Chlef region, 200km west of the capital.

Troops search Islamist suspects in Algiers suburb
Violence has continued outside the capital despite tight security
The paper also said that in another incident, two people were killed and more than 20 injured in a bomb attack at Tiaret, more than 300km west of Algiers.

In its report, Amnesty said an average of 200-300 people had been killed every month this year - but said the international community largely tends to ignore this.

Last month, the human rights organisation urged the Algerian authorities to withdraw an amnesty offered last year to members of armed groups who surrendered.

It said it opposed laws which "prevent the truth from coming out and prevent those responsible for attacks on human rights from being held accountable for their actions".

No accountability

More than 100,000 people are estimated to have been killed in politically-related violence since 1992 when the army cancelled elections that the Islamists seemed certain to win.

While the government routinely blames the killings on Islamist guerrillas, correspondents say there are widespread suspicions that sections of the armed forces are also partly responsible.

In addition to the known dead, large numbers of Algerians have simply gone missing - a problem that the government has refused to investigate, despite growing pressure from relatives of the disappeared.

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See also:

20 Dec 00 | Middle East
Algerian singer's 'assassins' on trial
11 Oct 00 | Middle East
Algeria violence kills 24
24 Sep 00 | Middle East
Algeria violence returns after lull
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
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