One other person was reported to have disappeared in Friday's attack in the south of Algeria, where Islamist insurgents have operated for nearly 15 years, the official APS news agency reported.


The attack occurred near the desert region of Ghardaia, 600km south of Algiers.


The convoy was taking a rest when the attack occurred, APS reported.


The attackers opened fire with machine guns on the vehicles transporting the customs agents, and then burned the vehicles, according to the daily Liberte.


The attackers, whose numbers were not known, then fled in two four-wheel-drive vehicles.


The group of agents, which included at least two regional customs directors, was travelling to a seminar in Ouargla, 1,600km from Algiers, the capital.