Violence leaves nine dead in Algeria in past several days

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The Independent Online

Nine people, including six young shepherds and three communal guards, have been killed in outbreaks of violence in Algeria during the past three days, according to local media reports.

Nine people, including six young shepherds and three communal guards, have been killed in outbreaks of violence in Algeria during the past three days, according to local media reports.

Islamic militants killed six shepherds ranging from 15 to 21 years old, mutilating them and then slitting their throats, the Liberte daily reported Saturday. The massacre occurred on Thursday near Ben Allel, about 120 kilometers (75 miles) west of Algiers, the daily said.

In a separate attack on Thursday, militants killed three communal guards at a roadblock near Chiffa, 70 kilometers (43 miles) south of the capital, Le Matin daily reported. The insurgents jumped out from both sides of the road, opening fire on the guards' vehicle as it paused at the roadblock, the newspaper said.

Media also reported that seven police officers were injured in two other militant attacks on Thursday and Friday.

An Islamic insurgency began in the North African country in 1992, when the government canceled legislative elections the Islamic Salvation Front was poised to win. More than 100,000 people have died since then.

Under a government peace plan, Islamic insurgents were eligible for amnesty if they turned in their weapons by Jan. 13 and were not guilty of rape, murder or bombings. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika repeatedly warned there would be a tough crackdown on those who refused the offer.

Although some groups have turned themselves in and even disbanded, the Armed Islamic Group, the most radical during the insurgency, has not officially accepted the peace plan.

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