According to security forces, 85 people were killed and 67 wounded. The victims had been "assassinated in a cowardly way", a phrase denoting they had their throats cut. Some of the bodies were then burnt. Algerian television showed images of charred houses, their floors covered in blood.
But residents were quoted as saying that at least 200 people lost their lives in the butchery, which would it make the second deadliest attack since the fighting began in 1992. It came just three days after 53 people were killed in a village in the Medea region, south-west of the capital. Press reports said the victims included babies, one of whom was found nailed to the door of a house. Eyewitnesses spoke of babies being decapitated. Eight rescue workers were reportedly wounded by boobytraps planted in disembowelled bodies of victims, some of whom were pregnant women.
Despite his inability to stop the carnage, President Liamine Zeroual has refused offers of mediation from the United Nations. In the absence of a truce, terror now grips the populace. Self defence militias, armed with guns and axes, have sprung up in Algiers and the surrounding countryside to provide the protection the Government cannot. Public opinion in Europe is unmoved.Reuse content