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Sunday, 28 November, 1999, 21:54 GMT
Algeria hit by new massacres
Algerian mourners Eight years of violence has left 100,000 people dead

Suspected Islamist extremists in Algeria are reported to have killed at least 28 people in two separate attacks over the weekend.

Government security officials said 18 people were killed when rebels opened fire in the village of Nfissa in Ain Defla province, some 130 kilometres (80 miles) southwest of the capital, Algiers.

Several of the victims died on the way to hospital, a television report said.

In an attack on Saturday, a group of nine people and a soldier were killed at a false checkpoint near Chebli, 35 km south of Algiers.

Eyewitnesses said men impersonating civilian guards stopped two cars and killed the passengers, who included women and children.

Upsurge in violence

Nearly 150 people have been killed in a new wave of violence during November as the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan approaches.

Rebels have in previous years stepped up their attacks during Ramadan.

They have until 13 January 2000 to surrender to the authorities as part of a peace plan offered by Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

He has vowed to wage an all-out campaign against those who reject the amnesty, which aims to bring to an end nearly eight years of civil war in which an estimated 100,000 people have been killed.

The Islamic insurgency began after the army cancelled parliamentary elections in 1992 which the Islamic Salvation Front was poised to win.

In a separate development, Algerian police are reported to have arrested dozens of Muslim radicals following the killing of a moderate Islamist leader, Abdelkader Hachani, last week.

His killing, which was widely condemned, is being regarded as part of an attempt to derail President Bouteflika's peace efforts.
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See also:
23 Nov 99 |  Middle East
Thousands attend Hachani funeral
24 Nov 99 |  Middle East
Islamist's death threatens Algeria peace process
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Islamists denounce "cowardly" killing of leader
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Algerian press denounces killing
22 Nov 99 |  Middle East
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17 Sep 99 |  Africa
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17 Sep 99 |  Africa
Analysis: Bouteflika emerges victorious

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