Algeria celebrates the end of the GIA
Algeria's government has announced that the killing of the head of the radical insurgent Armed Islamic Group (GIA) has led to the "almost total collapse" of the country's deadliest extremist force fighting secular authorities. The killing of Rachid Abu Tourab by close aides in July was only announced on Monday by the Interior Ministry, which added in a statement that action by the security forces had reduced the GIA to no more than "about 30 terrorists split into two groups ... (which) security forces continue to hunt down."
One group is in the Thala Acha mountains, near the garrison town of Blida, 50 kilometers south of Algiers, and the other at Kouacem, between the administrative districts of Chlef and Tissemsilt, 300 kilometers west of the capital, officials said. Algerian newspapers on Tuesday heralded "the end of the GIA" on their front pages. "We knew it was moribund, now it is pinned down, waiting only for the
|That'd be the Real GIA and the Provisional GIA, I guess... |boneyard stockade," the Liberte daily newspaper summed up in an editorial.
The Interior Ministry said "the investigation is still under way and the dismantling of the residual networks of this terrorist organization is being pursued with strict respect for the laws of the republic." On Monday evening, Algerian television showed pictures of the two last chiefs of the GIA, including Nourredine Boudiafi, who was part of a group arrested in the capital by security forces in November. Hundreds of weapons seized in that operation were also shown. The death of Tourab, whose real name was Rachid Oukali and whose hard-line stance further split the GIA, was officially announced on Monday. Police had said Boudiafi was arrested in November and the other GIA leader, Chaabane Younef, was killed at Chlef on a date authorities have not released. Algerian police chief Ali Tounsi in mid-December estimated that somewhere between 300 and 500 Islamic extremists were still operating in Algeria and were "just waiting for a chance to surrender to the authorities."
"Neutralizing them completely will take a little more time," the police chief said, adding that Algeria's police force has more than doubled from 50,000 to 122,000 in the past decade. When the GSPC emerged in 1998, it was led by Hassan Hattab, now reported to be dead. Hattab's own successor was killed by aides in June and the movement is today headed by Abu Mossaab Abdelouadoud, whose real name is Abdelmalek Dourkdal.
Posted by: Dan Darling 2005-01-05