Slaughter in Algeria

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Attackers disguised as police slit the throats of 28 civilians and then decapitated some of the victims in north-western Algeria, people living in the region said yesterday.

According to one person who escaped, 23 people were taken from their cars and killed in a massacre between the towns of Slissen and Tajmout - not far from the border with Morocco - early on Saturday.

The attackers stopped cars at a fake police roadblock, took the victims out of their cars, bound them with electrical wire and then executed them by slitting their throats, said the escapee, who refused to be identified by name for fear of reprisals.

Some of the victims then had their heads cut off.

Ali Bensalah, who discovered the massacre early on Saturday morning, said: "The heads were placed on the side of the road on a curve and I almost hit them."

No one claimed responsibility for the killings, which took place in a region that had been controlled by the Armed Islamic Group, the most violent organisation trying to overthrow the military-backed government.