Publish Date: Saturday,28 March, 2009, at 11:31 PM Doha Time

Algerian troops kill six Islamists


A woman and children walk past a banner of Algerian President Abdulaziz 
Bouteflika in Algiers yesterday. Campaigning in the presidential elections 
started on March 19 with six candidates, including Bouteflika, vying for the 
presidency. The election takes place on April 9 

Six armed Islamists have been killed in an army sweep south of the Algerian 
capital, local newspapers reported yesterday. The operation on Thursday took 
place in a forest about 50km south of Algiers, the French-language El Watan 
daily said. 

A local chief of the Armed Islamist group figured among the dead, another 
newspaper said. 
Roughly two dozen Islamists have been killed in army crackdowns since early 
March. The latest offensive takes to 150 the number shot dead by Algerian 
security forces since September last year. 

Extremists have staged several attacks on security forces in the run-up to 
presidential elections set for April 9 in which veteran leader Abdulaziz 
Bouteflika is seeking a third mandate. 

In the latest attack, a high-ranking army officer was killed and another 
soldier badly wounded in a bomb blast in northern Algeria, media reports said 
The attack took place on Friday ahead of an election rally appearance by 
Bouteflika in the region. The rally went ahead despite the attack. 
The bombing came at the end of a week of bloodshed in which dozens of people 
were killed in attacks and clashes. 
Bouteflika, in power since 1999, is regarded as the favourite in the elections, 
and has vowed to continue a sharp crackdown on extremists. 


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