France faces Algeria nuclear claims

Algerian bedouins seek compensation for French nuclear tests in the 1960s.

    Seventeen tests were carried out in Algeria, with radioactive fallout reaching distances of 1,000 km

    Compensation call


    Michael Ferji, a blast witness, said: "My role is to increase the awareness of the public opinion and to hold those who conducted these tests … To admit their crimes and get the victims compensated."


    French veterans want the Tawareq
    tribe to be compensated

    Many of the bedouins are worried less about the long-term health risks to which they have been exposed and more about what could happen to their children. They feel recompense is long overdue.


    One tribesman said: "The French government is being called upon not only to admit what they did, but to compensate us. We feel it is one of our rights."


    One veterans' group is working with French senators calling for a fund to be made available to offer compensation.


    Ongoing debate


    There is continuing debate about how much environmental damage was done by the nuclear tests and who is responsible.


    Algerian bedouins worry about
    the effects of tests on their children

    French officials say that many of the tests were carried out after Algeria gained independence in 1962.


    But others say Algerians did not have a choice at the time.


    Ferji said: "Sixty billion euros were spent on the nuclear tests in the Algerian desert.


    "I think we should be able to allocate some smaller amount to the victims."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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