Algeria: February 20, 2004


Algeria's prime minister said that rebels fighting for a Taliban-style Islamic state were no longer a threat, but might try to strike on the eve of the April 8 presidential election. An amnesty and a military offensive have cut the number of rebels from about 25,000 in the early 1990s to fewer than 1,000.

Algeria has defended efforts to lift its 12-year-old state of emergency in the face of international pressure, insisting that it should remain in place so long as the country is fighting Islamic rebels. Algeria declared a state of emergency in February 1992, shortly after military-backed authorities canceled legislative elections the radical Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) was set to win. In actuality, the state of emergency is a good way to keep a lid on internal dissent. - Adam Geibel


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