Algeria: Ethnic Conflict Provokes Dozens Of Deaths

Ethnic conflict between Berbers and Arabs has provoked 55 deaths and 350 injured in the last week in the region of Cabilia, where the Berber population of Algeria is concentrated. This people lived in North Africa before the Arabs moved westwards from the Middle East in the 7th century AD. They have been claiming equal rights for their culture and language, alongside Arabic. An incident on 18th April inflamed the Berber population and provoked the violent confrontations which caused the recent casualties. After three young Berbers were beaten by Algerian security forces (Arabs), the local population made an uprising, in which 40 police and 15 civilians have been killed and 350 people injured in the last week Youths of Berber origin have been attacking public buildings and involved themselves in confrontations with the police. The Berbers are a proud nomadic people with a very rich culture. The desert is their home, the camel their means of transport as they lead their solitary existence in the sands of the Sahara. Such a lifestyle transcends frontiers and systems of state control, making them nomads in “no man’s land”, living on our planet but not being fully part of it. Algeria has suffered extreme violence in recent years with the Islamic extremist attacks by the AIF (Armed Islamic Front) but this conflict is unconnected. TIMOTHY BANCROFT-HINCHEY, PRAVDA.RU, LISBON

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