Monday, June 7, 1999 Published at 05:40 GMT 06:40 UK
World: Middle East
Algerian rebels lay down arms
Violence flared after the military scrapped the 1992 polls
Algeria's Islamic Salvation Army (AIS) rebels have announced they will renounce their guerrilla struggle against the government.
A statement from rebel leader Madani Mezrag said: "The AIS has decided to abandon definitively its armed activities against the authorities." The statement was read on state-run television on Sunday.
The AIS also called on all its members who have not yet laid down arms to do so.
In response to the statement, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika instructed his prime minister to prepare a law which it is believed will include an amnesty for rebels who have renounced violence.
The Islamic Salvation Front was poised to win elections in 1992.
Violence which has since claimed up to 100,000 lives broke out when the elections were cancelled by the military.
The AIS has observed a unilateral ceasefire since October 1997.
The more radical rebel movement, the GIA or Armed Islamic Group, has dismissed the AIS ceasefire as a sellout.
In the latest violence, 19 people were killed and another four wounded in a raid in a village in Mascara region, 350km south-west of the capital, Algiers.
The massacre on Saturday morning was the worst since President Bouteflika's election on 15 April.
The president has called for Islamic militants to rejoin mainstream society. But an Algerian security source said an amnesty would not cover those with blood on their hands.
An FIS representative in London, Jafar al-Hawari, accused the GIA of feeding off the crisis in Algeria. He predicted that agreement between "the main players" would bring an end to violence nearer.