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DATE=12/10/98 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-242776 TITLE=ALGERIA MASSACRES (L) BYLINE=SCOTT BOBB DATELINE=CAIRO CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: LOCAL NEWS MEDIA IN ALGERIA SAY AT LEAST 50 PEOPLE HAVE BEEN KILLED AND TEN YOUNG WOMEN ABDUCTED IN AN ATTACK ON A VILLAGE WEST OF THE CAPITAL, ALGIERS. V-O-A MIDDLE EAST CORRESPONDENT SCOTT BOBB REPORTS ALGERIAN NEWSPAPERS ARE CALLING IT THE WORST INCIDENCE OF VIOLENCE IN THE COUNTRY THIS YEAR, BUT SECURITY OFFICIALS ARE SAYING THE FIGURES ARE EXAGGERATED. TEXT: ALGERIAN NEWSPAPERS REPORT THE MASSACRE OCCURRED NEAR THE HAMLET OF TADJENA, 170 KILOMETERS SOUTHWEST OF ALGIERS. THEY SAY THE ATTACKERS CUT THE THROATS OF THE INHABITANTS, MOST OF THEM WOMEN AND CHILDREN, AND SET FIRE TO THEIR HOMES. SECURITY SOURCES SAY THE VILLAGE LIES NEAR A MOUNTAIN THAT IS A MAJOR BASE OF GUERRILLAS OF THE ARMED ISLAMIC GROUP. THE GROUP IS CONSIDERED THE MOST VIOLENT OF SEVERAL ORGANIZATIONS THAT HAVE BEEN FIGHTING THE ALGERIAN GOVERNMENT SINCE IT CANCELLED NATIONAL ELECTIONS SIX YEARS AGO WHICH ISLAMISTS WERE POISED TO WIN. THE LATEST ATTACK BRINGS TO MORE THAN 100 THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE KILLED THIS MONTH IN VIOLENCE BLAMED ON MILITANT GROUPS. THE ATTACKS ARE RAISING FEARS THAT THE VIOLENCE WILL INTENSIFY FURTHER AS ALGERIANS PREPARE FOR RAMADAN, THE MUSLIM HOLY MONTH OF FASTING AND REPENTANCE THAT IS TO BEGIN IN 10 DAYS. AS MANY AS 700 PEOPLE WERE KILLED DURING RAMADAN THIS PAST YEAR. POLITICAL OBSERVERS SAY THEY EXPECT EVEN MORE VIOLENCE IN COMING MONTHS, AS THE POLITICAL CLIMATE HEATS UP IN ALGERIA IN ANTICIPATION OF PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS IN APRIL. THE ELECTIONS WERE ANNOUNCED AFTER PRESIDENT LIAMINE ZEROUAL SURPRISED THE NATION LAST SEPTEMBER, SAYING HE WOULD STEP DOWN A YEAR AND ONE-HALF BEFORE THE END OF HIS TERM AND WOULD NOT BE A CANDIDATE FOR RE-ELECTION. (SIGNED) NEB/SB/JWH 10-Dec-98 11:18 AM EST (1618 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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