Bomb blast kills Tunisia officer near Algeria border
02 December 2013
A landmine killed a Tunisian army officer on Monday in the Mount Chaambi border region, where security forces have for months been hunting Al-Qaeda linked militants, the defence ministry said.
Captain Youssef Dridi, a military engineer, died in the blast, which occurred at the end of an "operational mission" and which lightly injured another soldier, the official TAP news agency quoted the ministry spokesman as saying.
Since last December, the security forces have been tracking jihadists holed up in the remote Mount Chaambi region that straddles the Algerian border.
The area has been mined with homemade bombs, which are thought to have killed more than 15 soldiers and police so far this year, while a number of militants have also been killed by the Tunisian forces. (read more)
Algeria Country Profile
Algeria, officially known as the “People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria,” is over ninety percent Berber. Yet it has been almost constantly colonized, conquered in turn by the Romans (first – fourth centuries), Arabs (eighth – eleventh centuries), Ottoman Empire (sixteenth – nineteenth centuries) and finally by the French (1830 – 1962.) The French actually made Algeria part of metropolitan France and many French citizens settled there. The Algerian War of Independence (1954 – 1962) was exceptionally bloody. Between 350,000 and one million Algerians died during the war and two million more were forcibly displaced. Following their victory, The Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN) pushed for expulsion of the French, and regeneration of indigenous languages, especially Arabic and Berber. Ahmed Ben Bella was elected President in 1963, but was toppled in a military coup in 1965 and the military has ruled Algeria to the present.
Although Algeria has remained secular, Islamists increasingly demanded that national laws be based on Islam. The country faced civil war for ten years between December 1991 and February 2002. The war was ignited when the Islamic Salvation Front party gained popularity in 1991 and won the first round of multiparty elections. The National Liberation Front refused to hold the second round of elections and the country’s military kept control of the government.
Islamist guerrillas began an armed campaign against the government. The guerrillas were composed of the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) and the Islamic Armed Movement (MIA). The guerrillas initially attacked the Algerian army but eventually the GIA also attacked and committed atrocities against civilians. The anti-government movement began to ideologically split over these massacres. This division led to war between the two Islamist armed movements. This weakened their ability to oppose the government and led to negotiations between militants and the government that quelled the fighting. Only a small splinter group of the GIA rejected amnesty. Conflict is now minimal but there is still fighting between a few holdouts of the GIA and the Algerian government.
Hassan Hattab, a former regional commander of the GIA founded Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb after splitting off from the GIA. It has been involved in terrorist attacks all over north Africa, including Mali.
The Algerian government continues to violate the human rights of its citizens. A state of emergency was imposed in 1992 that severely restricted freedom of expression and association, ostensibly to combat “terrorism” during the civil war. Journalists and independent publications were arrested and prosecuted for criticism of the government. The state of emergency was lifted in February 2011 due to widespread protests during the “Arab Spring.” Since the lifting of this state of emergency, human rights organizations are hopeful that the human rights situation in Algeria will improve.
Algeria has seen a decrease in the risk of Genocide or Politicide in the last five years. With the lowered prevalence of Islamist extremist groups, fighting has decreased significantly. The twenty year state of emergency ended in 2011 and shows that steps are being made to improve human rights. Algeria has tried terrorists and pledged commitments to human rights in 2012. However, ideological polarization and extreme Islam are still prominent in Algerian society.
Algerians arrive to support Al-Qaeda in north Mali Sapa-AFP 25 November 2012
Several dozen Algerian jihadists have arrived in Timbuktu to support armed Islamist groups controlling northern Mali, who have toughened their application of strict Islamic law, security sources said Sunday.
A member of Mauritania's National Guard smokes a cigarette in a desert area near Bassikounou Mohammed, a member of Mauritania's National Guard, smokes a cigarette during a break from escorting a humanitarian convoy in a desert area near Bassikounou, Mauritania, about 30 km (19 miles) from the border with Mali, May 22, 2012. Mauritanian officials have stepped up security around the Sahara desert border with Mali due to the heightening risks from armed groups like Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in Mali's lawless north.
"Dozens of Algerian jihadists arrived in Timbuktu this weekend to reinforce the AQIM (Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb) camp," a regional security source told AFP. (read more)
Algeria highlights commitment to human rights treaties Middle East Online 21 September 2012
Local press highlights government's commitment to human rights treaties, after UN rights chief expressed concern about the freedom of NGOs in Algeria.
ALGIERS - The Algerian press on Thursday highlighted the government's commitment to human rights treaties, after UN rights chief Navi Pillay ended her visit expressing concern about the freedom of NGOs in Algeria.
"Algerian authorities have shown their willingness to ratify laws against torture and enforced disappearances, a very complicated process whose implementation will take quite a long time," said French-language daily L'Expression. (read more)