Saudi Justice: In Algeria 200 die but the West looks away

On the day that national attention was focused on the fate of two British nurses accused of a murder in Saudi Arabia, Islamic militants in a Muslim country far closer to Europe murdered at least 85 people by cutting their throats, disembowelling them, or burning them alive. The butchery has been going on for almost six years. For most papers and broadcaste rs, it doesn't seem to be `news'.Rupert Cornwell describes the latest horror in Algeria.
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The Independent Online
The latest massacre, in the suburb of Baraki, barely 20km (13 miles) from the centre of Algiers, was as bestial as any during the Islamic fundamentalist insurgency which may have cost up to 60,000 lives since the army-backed regime cancelled elections in late 1991.

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.

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