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Algeria Security Forces Kill 100

July 25, 1998

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) _ Security forces killed about 100 members of Algeria’s most violent movement after rebuffing an attack in the mountainous north, an official source said Saturday.

Members of the Armed Islamic Group were killed when they tried to attack security forces in the Berber region east of the Algerian capital of Algiers, the source said on condition of anonymity.

The group’s regional leader, Hassan Hattab, was believed to have been killed, but authorities were so far unable to identify him among the badly mangled bodies, the source said.

The clashes followed last month’s assassination of popular singer-activist Lounes Matoub. The Armed Islamic Group has been blamed for the killing.

On Friday, meanwhile, a bomb exploded inside a bus station on the southern edge of Algiers, killing one person and injuring several others, hospital sources said on condition of anonymity.

Also Saturday, a human rights leader told a U.N. delegation investigating Algeria’s bloody, six-year insurgency that government forces may be responsible for the disappearances of as many as 18,000 people.

Human rights ``have been flouted in Algeria with unusual Machiavellianism,″ Ali Yahia Abdenour, president of the Algerian Human Rights League, said he told the panel on Friday.

There was no immediate comment from authorities.

Some 75,000 people have been killed since 1992, when the military government canceled legislative elections that the now-banned Islamic Salvation Front was poised to win.

The Algerian government blames the violence on Islamic insurgents trying to topple the military-backed government. But security forces or government-armed militias may have had at least a passive role in the violence.

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