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DATE=7/23/98 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-235906 TITLE=ALGERIA / INSPECTIONS (L ONLY) BYLINE=RICHARD ENGEL DATELINE=CAIRO CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: A SENIOR FACT-FINDING TEAM FROM THE UNITED NATIONS IS IN ALGERIA ON A RARE MISSION TO INVESTIGATE ALLEGED HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES AND WIDESPREAD VIOLENCE WHICH HAVE PLAGUED THE NORTH AFRICAN COUNTRY FOR THE PAST SIX YEARS. RICHARD ENGEL HAS MORE FROM OUR MIDDLE EAST BUREAU. TEXT: A U-N DELEGATION, FORMED BY SECRETARY GENERAL KOFI ANNAN, ARRIVED IN ALGERIA LATE WEDNESDAY. THE DELEGATES HOPE TO INVESTIGATE WIDESPREAD HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES IN THE COUNTRY WHERE WESTERN OBSERVERS ESTIMATE THAT AT LEAST 65-THOUSAND PEOPLE HAVE BEEN KILLED SINCE 1992. //OPT// IN THE LAST TEN DAYS ALONE, MOVE THAN 90 PEOPLE HAVE LOST THEIR LIVES. //END OPT// THE SIX-MEMBER TEAM IS LED BY FORMER PORTUGUESE PRESIDENT MARIO SOARES AND ALSO INCLUDES REPRESENTATIVES FROM THE UNITED STATES, INDIA, KENYA, FRANCE AND JORDAN. SO FAR, THE ALGERIAN GOVERNMENT HAS PROMISED TO COOPERATE WITH THE INVESTIGATORS DURING THEIR TWO-WEEK VISIT, SO LONG AS THEY RESPECT THE COUNTRY'S LAW -- A PROVISION THAT IS LIKELY TO PREVENT THEM FROM MEETING WITH MEMBERS OF ARMED ISLAMIC GROUPS WHICH THE GOVERNMENT BLAMES FOR MOST OF THE VIOLENCE. THE TEAM IS, HOWEVER, EXPECTED TO MEET WITH MEMBERS OF ALGERIA'S PARLIAMENT AND OPPOSITION ACTIVISTS. THE U-N REPRESENTATIVES MAY ALSO VISIT RURAL VILLAGES AND TALK MASSACRE SURVIVORS. SEVERAL AND ALGERIAN INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS HAVE CAST SERIOUS DOUBTS ON THE GOVERNMENT'S CLAIM THAT ISLAMIC MILITANTS ARE ENTIRELY TO BLAME FOR THE SIX YEARS OF VIOLENCE WHICH STARTED AFTER THE GOVERNMENT CANCELED ELECTIONS THAT THE ISLAMISTS WERE SET TO WIN. THE GROUPS SAY THAT SECURITY FORCES OR GOVERNMENT ARMED MILITIAS MAY HAVE AT LEAST A PASSIVE ROLE IN THE VIOLENCE. THEY ARGUE THAT MANY OF THE MOST GRUESOME MASSACRES HAVE OCCURRED WITHIN EARSHOT OF ALGERIAN MILITARY OR POLICE INSTALLATIONS. ALGERIA HAS BEEN RELUCTANT TO ALLOW OUTSIDE OBSERVERS TO SCRUTINIZE ITS INTERNAL CONFLICT, BUT INTERNATIONAL CONCERN HAS BEEN MOUNTING AS THE BODIES OF MASSACRE VICTIMS CONTINUE TO PILE UP. (SIGNED) NEB/RHE/PCF 23-Jul-98 9:27 AM EDT (1327 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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