The GIA is reputed to be the blood-thirstiest of the radical Islamic gangs in Algeria, but is said to be on its last legs and now musters only about 30 members.
The GSPC, which used to be the largest and best organized of the armed formations, has been split into at least three factions by internal rivalries. Two groups were allegedly contained and the third was last reported to be on the border between Algeria and Morocco.
If these groups are blocked in Algeria, then it would be only logical for them to move south into less-controlled regions down through Mali, Mauritania and the Western Sahara to Senegal. - Adam Geibel
Mauritania and environs map, online at:
Algerian security forces have broken up the networks that supported the terrorists in their country, while the groups themselves have fragmented. Recent clemency plans, along with a 1999 blanket amnesty for members of the Islamic Salvation Front, have taken thousands of fighters out of action. The Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) and the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) are said to be the only two Islamic extremist groups still active in Algeria. Both want to oust the secular government and replace it with a fundamentalist regime.