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20.06.2012 Algeria

Algeria forces kill eight Islamists in Kabylie

Men walk in the Kabylie region of Algeria.  By Fayez Nureldine (AFP/File)
LISTEN JUN 20, 2012
Men walk in the Kabylie region of Algeria. By Fayez Nureldine (AFP/File)

ALGIERS (AFP) - Algerian troops killed eight Islamist militants in the Kabylie region, where Al Qaeda-linked groups remain active, the official APS agency reported Wednesday, updating an earlier toll of six.

Soldiers opened fire on a van carrying suspects near Tizi Ouzou, the main city in Kabylie, APS said, quoting a senior security official. The van veered off the road and crashed into a ravine.

The security forces recovered five assault rifles and two shotguns after the operation that left five militants dead late Tuesday, the source added.

Algerian forces killed three further suspects on Wednesday and captured one more.

Troops continued to comb the area for remaining members of the cell, believed to be responsible for a June 15 attack on a police station in a nearby town that left two officers dead.

Soldiers killed six militants with suspected ties to Al Qaeda in the same region on June 5.

Following the brutal decade-long war that left up to 200,000 people dead, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika started a process of national reconciliation and offered amnesty to all Islamists.

Former members of the Armed Islamic Group and its offshoots who have since proclaimed their allegiance to Al-Qaeda have largely been flushed out, but incidents remain frequent in Kabylie, east of Algiers.

Algeria's police chief, General Abdelghani Hamel, said last month that "the terrorist threat remains in all regions of Algeria".

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