Algerian PM lambasts Europe for assisting extremists and points finger at Tehran

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The Independent Online
The Algerian Prime Minister, Ahmed Ouyahia, yesterday attacked European governments for aiding the killers in recent massacres and also accused Iran of assisting the rebels. He put the death-toll from the civil war at 26,000.

At a special session of the National Assembly discussing the crisis, he said 26,500 people had been killed by Islamic militants. His estimate of the toll since the military-dominated government overturned the election victory of the Islamic Salvation Front in 1992 is far lower than the 65,000 that Western sources claim.

In an attack sure to anger Derek Fatchett, the junior British Foreign Office minister who went to Algeria last week on a European Union mission, Mr Ouyahia spoke of "networks raising funds in London and in some European countries which send weapons and explosives to kill Algerian people." The job of European powers was not to intervene in Algerian domestic affairs but to crack down on Islamic radicals supporting the "terrorists" in Europe's capitals.

Iran, as a major backer of the militants, was also responsible for the murder of many innocent civilians. "If we talk about those who contributed directly to arming and training Algerians with regard to terrorism, I mention at the top of this list the Tehran regime.

"The Tehran regime, which today is urging us to find a solution, is trying to mobilise the Islamic world in a vain attempt against the Muslim Algeria which it helped to destabilise," he continued, in a coded reference to the military and financial support he believes the radicals receive from Iran.

Previous reports have alleged complicity by Algiers in the killings and witnesses made more allegations yesterday to the all-party Parliamentary Human Rights Group in the House of Commons. Abdelhamid Brahimi, Algerian prime minister from 1984 to 1988, highlighted a raid on the town of Medea as being the work of government agents.