Algeria puts strife toll at 150,000

Algeria's President Abd al-Aziz Butaflika has acknowledged for the first time that 150,000 people have died in more than a decade of violence with Islamist rebels in the country.

    President Butaflika has called for amnesty to end the violence

    Until Wednesday the authorities maintained that 100,000 people had died in the violence since 1992, although human rights groups have long said the figure exceeded 150,000.

    "The number of victims has reached 150,000 and the destruction has reached $40 billion," Butaflika said in a speech on Wednesday.

    Islamist fighters unleashed a war after the powerful army cancelled legislative elections that the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) looked set to win in 1992.

    Amnesty plan

    Butaflika is calling for an amnesty to end the long-running conflict, which almost destroyed the oil-rich North African country in the 1990s.

    "Algerian people need to be able to accept a general amnesty. I need your support," he said.

    The amnesty, which is expected to be put to a referendum later this year, is expected to include rebels and security forces but no details have yet been given.

    The authorities say there are between 300 to 500 rebels still active in the country. Security experts say the figure could be as high as 1000.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Thou Shalt Not Kill: Israel's Hilltop Youth

    Thou Shalt Not Kill: Israel's Hilltop Youth

    Meet the hardline group willing to do anything, including going against their government, to claim land for Israel.