Despite the fact that the Moslem world is in the Sacred period of Ramadan, a time of reflection, prayer and dedication to God, the massacres go on in Algeria. This time, during the weekend, a group of armed men reportedly from the AIG (Armed Islamic Group) entered a school and killed between sixteen and nineteen boys aged between 15 and 18. The college is situated in Media, 80 kilometres south of the capital, Algiers. Despite the fact that Ramadan is sacred for the Moslems, up to 200 people have been murdered in Algeria in recent weeks, bringing the total of murders by armed Islamic groups to around 2,500 this year. The Islamic terrorists are based in the mountains in central Algeria and there are two main factions: the AIG, led by Antar Zouabri and the Salafista Group for Predication and Combat, led by Hassan Hattab. They have been launching attacks on civilian, police and military “targets” since 1992 and intend to proclaim an Islamic State in Algeria. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika reacted to the social chaos in July, 1999 with the promulgation of a law which pardoned Islamic terrorists not involved in blood crimes who decided to give themselves up. Since then 1,500 militants have handed themselves in to the authorities. Now, it is reported, the two groups are vying with each other to see which one can control the territory and the way they affirm themselves is through massacres. Some Ramadan!

Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey Pravda.Ru Lisbon

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